Will you dedicate a ribbon in our garden display and help care for local families?

Our vibrant display in the Path of Life garden is a way to celebrate the life of someone special. For each donation we receive, we will tie a beautiful coloured ribbon in the Hospice garden in remembrance of your loved one. We hope to transform the Path of Life garden into a celebratory burst of colour, so that supporters can visit and reflect on precious memories.

By making a donation today to commemorate your loved one, you are not only helping to create a communal display of colour in the gardens, but your gift will go towards helping local patients and their families at a challenging time of life. Every pound donated will go towards providing the very best care for patients, as well as emotional support for families.

“We hope that participating in the Rainbow of Ribbons appeal will be a meaningful experience for you.  Dedicating a ribbon is one of many ways you can remember loved ones you have lost.”

Rob Hairsine, Bereavement Counsellor, Family Support Team

Caring for the whole family

Did you know that St. Gemma’s Hospice provides practical and emotional support for family and close friends of our patients? As well as delivering expert palliative care, St Gemma’s prides itself on taking care of family and carers of our patients. Our Family Support Team includes social workers, Bereavement Counsellors and a dedicated Young Person’s Service, who provide specialist practical and emotional support after the death of someone close.

Hospice supporter Linda Mabbott kindly shared her experience of support from accessing St Gemma’s Bereavement Service after the death of her much loved husband, Jerry.

“My husband Jerry and I knew each other for 30 years, and we were married for 13 of those. We lived in Leeds but it was Jerry’s dream to own a narrow boat, so when we bought one, we spent as much time as possible on it.

In December 2020 Jerry suddenly became very ill and the doctors told us he had advanced cancer of the liver and colon and was now at the end of his life.

From the moment the ambulance staff came to pick Jerry up to take him to St Gemma’s, I felt that we were in good care. As well as the peace and tranquillity, I remember all the special treatment that Jerry received at the Hospice – even the friendly way the staff spoke to him.

Jerry was diagnosed in St James Hospital on 3rd December, he was transferred to St Gemma’s on 9th December and passed away on 14th, aged 73.  A lot of people don’t understand hospice care and shy away from it, but the right care can bring a lot of comfort to families. Jerry was only at St Gemma’s for six days, but all the things that happened in that short time are going to stay with me for the rest of my life. Along with memories of all the holidays we had during our life together, I’ll treasure my memories of spending time with Jerry at the Hospice.

And the care wasn’t only for Jerry. The staff were wonderful to me as well. They never stopped caring for me.

“Following Jerry’s death, I was put in contact with Rob Hairsine, one of the team’s specialist counsellors. I didn’t have any expectations; I would just call up and talk. Somehow, Rob helped me to unravel all my difficult feelings, including the anger. Jerry and I had lived a simple life on our boat most of the time, and when all that came crashing down it was an absolutely horrendous time.

I had lost close family members before, but never so many people in such a short space of time. At the time of my brother’s death many years ago, I wasn’t offered any kind of professional support. It’s so different when you lose a family member in hospital; you’re sent home to somehow pick up the pieces on your own. St. Gemma’s don’t do that, they were there for me.

I spoke to Rob once a week for five weeks in early 2021, then in the April my Mum died in hospital. She was too poorly to move to St Gemma’s. Then I lost a very close uncle in the October. I came out of those three consecutive bereavements with lots of things going round my head, so I wanted to speak to a professional again and reached out to St. Gemma’s. Rob explained that it’s not a closed door and the Hospice is still here if I need help at any point in the future, so I had five more sessions. You take quite a knock being bereaved, and Rob helped me find the strength that I knew deep down was there.

Grief is a terrible thing and there is no manual. Nobody says ‘Right, in a few weeks you’ll feel like this, and then you’ll feel like that…’ but it’s ok to accept that uncertainty. A few years ago, discussing personal things wouldn’t come naturally to me, but now I understand talking can be so helpful. Thanks to St. Gemma’s Bereavement Team, I feel like those dark days are fading away now and if I do have a difficult moment I can pick myself up again.”