John Taylor Hospice has launched an appeal to bring Christmas cheer and comfort to local families this festive season.
Through the Christmas Wishes Appeal, people can give a gift to hospice patients and their loved ones by picking an item from the charity’s yuletide wish list – which includes festive hampers, decorations and customised teddy bears for children.
Hospice Community Fundraising Manager Kerry McGrath explains: “At Christmas we always go the extra mile to make sure people we care for feel extremely special. This has been an incredibly difficult year for many families so we really want to pull out all the stops this December. To do this we really need help from local communities and would be so grateful for donations towards our Christmas wish list.
“By picking an item from our list you’ll be adding sparkle to someone’s Christmas. Your kind donation will help families make precious and lasting memories together, show those who are feeling isolated and lonely that they are in people’s thoughts, and help bring Christmas spirit and comfort to so many people.”
As well as providing specialist medical care for hundreds of local families every day, hospice teams are on hand to support people with their emotional and social needs. But sometimes, as Anita Carvalho from Birmingham explains, it’s the little things and surprise acts of kindness that can make all the difference during difficult times.
Since being told she has incurable breast cancer, Anita, 53, has been supported at her home in Stechford by hospice Clinical Nurse Specialist Maggie Horsley. Just before Christmas last year Anita received an unexpected delivery from the hospice and describes how it brought ‘great joy’ to her and her 15-year-old daughter Ana.
“Maggie came to visit us with two big boxes full of gifts – one for me and one for Ana,” says Anita. “It was so unexpected and extremely kind and generous. There were so many gifts including food, perfume, creams, jewellery, dressing gowns and slippers. My daughter even said ‘are you sure that’s all for us?’ as we were so overwhelmed! Cancer took Ana’s dad in early December 2019 and seeing her smile again was wonderful. Their thoughtful surprise made our Christmas and it was such a lovely feeling.”
And to help Anita and Ana make even more special memories together hospice teams arranged a pamper day at John Lewis in Birmingham – funded by a scheme called Personal Health Budgets. “On my birthday in February, Ana and I had a professional make-up session with a photoshoot followed by a meal together. We were presented with a book full of photographs as a reminder of our amazing and fun experience together and it’s something Ana said she’ll always hold dear.
“Honestly the hospice staff have gone the extra mile for me and my daughter and I couldn’t be more grateful for their kindness and generosity. They took us under their wing and always make me feel that I matter and my feelings are valued. I cherish them all.”
To help make Christmas magical for more families this Christmas, please visit the Christmas Wishes Appeal page at www.johntaylorhospice.org.uk/christmaswishes