Last Christmas was like no other for all of us and especially for those who spent Christmas at the hospice. In addition to the expert care and support, we also strive to provide the best possible Christmas for those who stay with us over the festive period.  Despite our best efforts, Christmas just wasn’t the same. But, this year, with your help, we really hope that we can get back to a Christmas we are all used to, a Christmas that our patients and their families deserve.

Christmas is a time when patients are used to being at home, celebrating with their loved ones all together. When someone is living with a progressive life limiting illness, Christmas can be so tough, particularly with the thought of it maybe being a last. A time that is usually filled with joy can feel sad, emotional, scary, and often overwhelming.  At Dove House we aim to ease these feelings and create a warm, festive, and comforting environment with seasonal cheer, carol singing, treats and good old Christmas spirit. Ways to bring Christmas magic to every family in our care is sought.

Can you help ensure that Christmas 2021 is full of moments that matter for every family who turn to us?

Your donation would mean that each family can concentrate on being just that, a family. That they can enjoy quality time together over the special days of Christmas and that they can make memories that will stay with them forever.

We are hoping to raise an extra £8840 from this Christmas Appeal, which could cover the cost of 10 nurses, who will all go above and beyond, working hard over the festive period to deliver the exceptional care the hospice is known for. Perhaps you could be one of 130 people to donate £68 to cover this cost or a donation of £29 that could help provide festive meals for a patient to enjoy surrounded by their family.

Caitlan and her family kindly agreed to share their story to show the value of your donation(s) to families like theirs.

Caitlan's Story - My Mum

“When you lose someone, you have to learn along the way. No one knows what to say to the kid who’s just lost their Mum. I don’t even know what to say and she was my Mum.

Dove House Hospice is my happy place, I think of Dove House and I think of my Mum. I don’t just remember the sad times, I remember how happy they made her, how comfortable they made us all and how much they have helped me know that my emotions, anger and guilt are a normal part of grief.

Mum was scared to come to Dove House at first but the hospice felt like a community where they treat you like a person and not just a patient. My Mum and Dad talked about whether a hospice was right for us but we all wanted her to go somewhere where she would feel at peace and be cared about. Hospitals care for you but Dove House cares about you.
Everyone was lovely and made us feel part of things as we were considered as a family not just visitors. Mum was able to move around which had been difficult until now and found great comfort in the gardens, it brought her peace and a nice getaway to escape the reality of care for a while.

If my Mum hadn’t have found peace at the hospice like she did I wouldn’t have been able to find peace.

I want to be a psychologist when I grow older and I cannot wait to be able to come back to the hospice and volunteer. I know what it feels like to be there, to feel lost as a family member. I want to be able to help people get through one of the hardest times in their lives. Dove House scooped us up and helped me see the way forward and I want to do that for others. I want to give back and if I can help someone like they helped me it will be worth it.

Myself and my brother Lewis also attended the Children’s Bereavement Groups and everyone was really friendly and welcoming. The best part of the groups was we could just be ourselves, there was no fear of saying the wrong thing, of saying something that may make someone else feel uncomfortable. We had all lost someone that meant the world to us. They understood my grief and I understood theirs. When someone dies, people sometimes don’t know what to say, so they don’t say anything or even avoid you. Believe it or not I actually lost a friend at school over it.
There are times when you just need your Mum. For me and Lewis we won’t be able to share those special moments with her as we grow. That is hard to deal with, but with the help of Dove House it is something we are learning to cope with.

 At the group I formed a really good friendship with another girl who had lost her Dad. We had similar interests and things in common. I think most importantly all of us at the group could relate in some way even though we all had individual emotions. No one judges you at the group, no matter what you said, we all helped each other. It’s made me want to help. Being around all the other kids showed me there are so many kids going through grief. Our society very much ignores childhood grief and they shouldn’t. We need help to heal, it is vital we are shown how to feel our emotions, how to live with our grief so that when we grow into adults where we are able to live our lives fully.

Attending the groups at Dove House has had such a positive impact on my life, it has changed my outlook on life, it has changed me as a person and for the better. I am so much more confident now. I don’t feel lost anymore, I know exactly what I want to do with my life and that is to help people just like everyone at Dove House Hospice.”