Our latest winner of the Harewood monthly staff charity draw is Kay Kennedy, our Senior Investment Manager, who was delighted to be able to donate her £1,000 winnings to Chorley based St Catherine’s Hospice.
Kay has a personal connection with this incredible charity and so was understandably thrilled when she was announced as June’s winner. She said “St Catherine’s has an extra special significance with me. Throughout my childhood and upbringing, I’d always remembered that my dear Mum had been the victim of breast cancer previously and we had many more scares over the years that followed. It was like the elephant in the room casting a dark shadow over us. In January 2004, when I got the dreaded phone call to tell me that her breast cancer had returned, I just knew that somehow, this time was different. The disease grappled her and she deteriorated very quickly before sadly passing away in June of 2004.”
Kay continued “She had many spells in and out of hospital and struggled at home by herself so she was admitted to St Catherine’s for a fortnight’s respite period. The team there were absolutely amazing. They were so supportive and so considerate towards Mum and her family and friends. A particular moment that sticks in my mind from her time there is when, on one occasion, when my Mum was so weak that she couldn’t even feed herself, the staff stepped in and set up a special table in a quiet room for her and her long-term partner Dean. They made them a lovely Sunday lunch and allowed Dean to assist my Mum so that they could enjoy the meal together.”
Run by a team of 130 employees and supported by over 700 enthusiastic volunteers, St Catherine’s Hospice, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2015, offers specialised, personalised, free of charge services to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of people with life-shortening conditions and to provide comfort and dignity in death. It has both an in-patient unit and day therapy unit as well as running an award-winning lymphoedema service based in the Woodside Clinic, within the grounds of St Catherine’s Park. In 2014, St Catherine’s opened a café and information centre called The Mill in the grounds of the Hospice. Additionally, they have 15 charity shops, a furniture warehouse and run the oldest hospice fundraising lottery in the country!
The charity serves a patient population of around 380,000 from the surrounding region, but only a quarter of St Catherine’s funding comes from the NHS so the charity needs to raise a huge £3.5m of its annual £5.2m running costs each year. Kay went on a visit to St Catherine’s to donate the £1,000 cheque from Harewood and to allow her and Dean the opportunity to see the changes that have taken place within the Hospice in the last 13 years.
Kay commented “It was certainly a visit filled with mixed emotions for us both and I was blown away by how beautiful the grounds are and how different it all looked, I barely recognised it! I’m not afraid to admit I had a lump in a throat and tears in my eyes as we walked past the room where my Mum had stayed back in 2004. Being at St. Catherine’s helped alleviate a lot of pressure on my family and loved ones during a very difficult time for us and most importantly it gave Mum the much-needed break and respite she required. I am thrilled that we have been able to contribute to the charity’s much needed fundraising activities.“
To find out more about St Catherine’s Hospice, visit their website at www.stcatherines.co.uk