“Mom was one of a kind and had such a big heart”

Andrew Mathewson, 33 and from Erdington, has chosen to share a story about his treasured mother Geraldine – and the reasons why he decided to give something back to John Taylor Hospice.

Mom had such a big heart. If you ever met Mom you would never forget her – and she would never forget you.

She was like a second mother to many, often looking after her nieces and nephews, and she would drop everything for anyone who needed her help. I was extremely close to Mom and a day doesn’t go by when she isn’t in my thoughts. She moulded me into the man I am today and I am extremely proud to have her as my mom. I will never meet anyone as strong as her – she is one of a kind.

Mom was diagnosed with lung cancer about 15 years ago and had surgery to remove half of her lung. She went back to work after a few months of recovery, even taking on extra work, meaning she had three jobs in total. Years later she needed another operation as the cancer had spread and during the surgery three quarters of her other lung was removed. Again she still found the strength to return to work for a short while – Mom was a pure workhorse.

In August 2018, on my daughter’s first birthday, Mom contracted the bacteria C.diff and the infection made her extremely ill. My sister, brother and I were told she may not make it past the weekend. But, as per usual with Mom, she proved everyone wrong and started to get better. It was then that Mom was offered two weeks of respite care at John Taylor Hospice as she was very nervous about going home. She was also anxious about going to the hospice but, once she was admitted, met everyone and tasted the food, she loved it (Mom was a fussy eater).

Grandmother Geraldine with Andrew’s daughter Nancy Mae

In February 2019, the cancer had taken over and Mom was moved from Good Hope Hospital to JTH for her remaining days. The support from the hospice was second to none and I really can’t speak more highly of them. They helped Mom with pain relief and her panic attacks and made sure she was comfortable and pain-free in her last days. After Mom’s passing they offered me one-on-one bereavement counselling which helped me so much to come to terms with losing her. 

I find it hard to put into words how much the hospice helped Mom and how relieved we were that she got to spend her last days in John Taylor with such outstanding and compassionate people. Although I’ll never be able to repay the hospice for everything they did for our family, and I’ll be forever in their debt, I wanted to do something to say thank you.

So in November 2019, along with a work colleague, I did the 10k winter Wolf Run to raise money for the hospice so that another family can receive the same care my family did. It is a great feeling knowing that you have possibly helped another family to get such incredible help and support for their loved ones. And to anyone who is thinking of fundraising themselves I’d say challenge yourself – it’s worth it to help such a great hospice.

John, Nigel and Andrew at the Wolf Run

How to get involved

Fundraising and donations help to provide vital hospice care for hundreds of local families every day. There are many ways you can show your support for John Taylor Hospice – find out more here or by emailing our Fundraising Team at [email protected]

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What our patients think

“The care was second to none”

“At such a heartbreaking and difficult time, the nurses and care assistants knew exactly what to do and to say – we’d have been lost without them. The care they provided for my beautiful wife was second to none and I’ll be forever grateful.”

Roger Perks

“Nothing is too much trouble”

“I can’t thank hospice teams enough. From fitting grab rails in my house and ordering a reclining bed, reviewing of all my medication, providing me with new medical equipment and even helping to organise domestic help for us at home – they’ve covered everything but are always willing to do even more.”

Jackie Bannister

“I don’t know where I’d be without them”

“The support I get is truly is invaluable and I honestly don’t know where I’d be without them. I’m able to talk openly about my illness and ask for advice and support if I need it. I’ve made some incredible friends and the hospice is a very special place full of laughter and kindness. “

Liz Warren

Hope and Healing Appeal