Geoff Charlson has shared his story of the support he and his wife received from St.Catherine’s Hospice in the hope of inspiring people to donate.
Caroline, Geoff’s wife, was referred to the hospice from Royal Preston Hospital after her cancer prognosis worsened.
Geoff says he felt relief as soon as he arrived at St Catherine’s Hospice:
“When we arrived I just burst into tears, it was such a relief, it was something you could really sense, and really feel as soon as you arrived. It was like travelling through a storm to reach an oasis of calm.”
Caroline had been having many different gruelling treatments which was taking a toll on her so the couple were relieved to arrive at the hospice:
“The contrast was stark, we’d gone from gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy and radical surgery in a busy hospital, to this place of calm where the focus was on wellbeing, the whole person and the patient came first, not the medical treatments.
“The staff worked with us, helping us to understand what to expect. Previously a lot of control had been taken away from her, but at St Catherine’s there were options and choices again.”
Geoff is now sharing his experiences of the Lostock Hall hospice to encourage others to sign up to give the charity a regular donation so they can continue to be there for families like his.
The 68-year-old retired chief executive of an engineering firm said: “I couldn’t believe it when I found out St Catherine’s needs to raise £4m each and every year to be able to continue its work.
“We’ve done various things as a family – including the Moonlight and Memories Walk in memory of Caroline – but I’m pleased the regular donation I give each month helps the charity to be more sustainable, to be able to budget and plan for the future, something which can be especially hard when fundraising is unpredictable.”
Tracy Parkinson, in-patient unit manager at St Catherine’s, said: “We’re extremely grateful to Geoff for sharing his family’s experiences of staying with us at the hospice.
“We know through feedback from those we care for and their families that the small things – like having a pet to visit, enjoying a bubble bath or favourite meal – mean a lot to people at this time in their lives. Our job, as a hospice team, is to get the big issues under control – like ensuring someone is not in pain or struggling with other symptoms – so that they can enjoy these small things with their loved ones in comfort, and create precious memories together.”