Joining the therapy sessions at Pilgrims Hospices has made a remarkable difference to the life of Maureen Meltzer. With new-found confidence and new friends, she has been inspired to take on different interests and challenges to help her live well in every moment.
Maureen was diagnosed with breast cancer and knows her symptoms will not improve. Pilgrims are helping her to embrace the chance to make every moment count. Maureen’s GP made the referral to Pilgrims in order to help meet her individual needs and assist in getting the right support to maintain her wellbeing at home.
I knew nothing about hospice services prior to attending Pilgrims, it was a big step to take and I’m so glad I made it.
Maureen from Faversham is 72 and attends the therapy sessions at Pilgrims Hospice Canterbury day services: “When I was offered the opportunity to get involved, I initially thought I don’t need any therapy? However, after some thought, I said, ‘I’ve nothing to lose’, and read through the booklet and discovered much more than I had imagined.
“There’s a surprising variety of classes, including crafts, chair yoga, relaxation and exercise along with therapeutic programmes to help people feel better and do more.”
“Being quite a private person, I never thought I would enjoy coming to the support sessions. I’ve been attending on Mondays for about 6 weeks and really look forward to meeting everyone at the group. I now thoroughly enjoy the company of others and the atmosphere is so relaxed and the staff are very knowledgeable and caring. I feel like I’m amongst friends.” Maureen added.
I now thoroughly enjoy the company of others and the atmosphere is so relaxed and the staff are very knowledgeable and caring. I feel like I’m amongst friends.
Maureen explained: “I knew nothing about hospice services prior to attending Pilgrims, it was a big step to take and I’m so glad that I made it. I’m not treated as though I’m fragile because of my illness, I’m treated as an individual.
“I don’t know what’s around the corner but Pilgrims most certainly has helped me to think positively about my wellbeing and keeps me motivated not to give in.
“My husband David and the children are very proud of me, which helps me to remain positive about the future. I’m not brave, in fact, I’m often quite scared; knowing I have Pilgrims to lean on is definitely a bonus. I hope that sharing my story will inspire others who need support to speak to their healthcare professional or GP for more Pilgrims information.”
Each year Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to more than 2,300 people in east Kent coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured. The charity support patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress.
28th March 2019
Sunflower Memories: Christina’s story
After Christina Johnson’s mum, Julie, was cared for at Pilgrims Hospice Ashford in 2016, the family decided to dedicate a sunflower in her memory as part of the charity’s Sunflower Memories campaign. Here, Christina shares how this helps them to remember Julie and take comfort with others who have experienced Pilgrims’ care.
Mother’s Day was always important to us as a family and an opportunity to show Mum how very loved she was. During her time at the Ashford hospice, this was no different. Incredibly, the nurses helped us decorate Mum’s room with banners and flowers, and we brought in doughnuts to enjoy together. It was such a special day and so amazing that we were still able to do this for Mum at such a difficult time.
Mum was very family orientated and was just the best mum to myself and my sister, Sarah, as well as a loving wife to my dad. She was so caring and always thought of others first, loved meeting up with friends, listening to music, and absolutely doted on her pride and joy; her cat, Billy.
It’s so lovely to be able to dedicate a sunflower marker in Mum’s memory and comforting for us to return to the hospice and be amongst other families we got to know whilst Mum was being cared for.
Mum was cared for by Pilgrims at the end of 2015 and again in February 2016 until she passed away on 26 March 2016, aged 58. The team at Ashford gave my wonderful mum the very best care and treatment and provided us all with the support we needed throughout the whole awful experience, for which we will be forever grateful.
Pilgrims was such a peaceful space for us all to be in, and Mum felt completely safe. She always said it was more like a luxury hotel than what she’d imagined a hospice to be. The staff were completely flexible with us all staying over and visiting; at one point we had 10 visitors in Mum’s room! Mum couldn’t believe that she was even offered a glass of wine in the evening; it’s all the little touches that make a difference and really lift people’s moods at such a difficult time.
The special Pilgrims staff made my mum feel comfortable and took a genuine interest in her life; one nurse called her ‘Chelsea’ after learning what a big Chelsea football supporter she was. Mum was even treated to hand and foot massages and pedicures by a complementary therapist; this was a brilliant way for her to relax, but also to ensure she had dignity and respect during her time at the hospice as she always liked to look her best.
It’s so touching how the hospice continues to be there for you even after your loved one is gone. My dad found it hard to talk about his feelings and Pilgrims offered him counselling and therapeutic painting, which made a huge difference. It’s this ongoing care that is so special and makes you feel like you’re part of a big Pilgrims family.
It’s very special for all of us to be part of the tranquil Sunflower Memories days. We will always feel a connection to the hospice, which has truly become part of our family over the last couple of years. It’s so lovely to be able to dedicate a sunflower marker in Mum’s memory and comforting for us to return to the hospice and be amongst other families we got to know whilst Mum was being cared for.
Pilgrims is an outstanding charity and we feel so lucky that our lovely mum was able to spend her last months in such a wonderful and caring environment. It will forever be a special place to us all.
We will be remembering Mum this Mother’s Day and look forward to dedicating our marker for Sunflower Memories once again this June.
Sunflower Memories events will take place at our hospices in July 2019:
A great success was had by Pilgrims Hospices last Sunday at the Paws 4 Pilgrims event, taking place with over 200 dogs and their owners walking the beautiful coastal route from Deal down towards Walmer in aid of local hospice care.
All doggies who took part received their very own special Pilgrims dog disc. After the walk there was a fun dog show for owners to show off their pooches, with classes including Fastest Sausage Catcher and Best Rescue Dog.
Ann Andrews and pooch Fred, who was the overall winner of the dog show, said: “Thank you to everyone from Pilgrims for giving us such a lovely, well organised day out in Deal. We had the best time on the walk, meeting some lovely people and the dog show was really good fun. Everyone taking part had such lovely things to say about the day and I hope lots of money is raised. The sun shone so those looking down on us must have been taking care of the weather today. Fred is enjoying his hamper of treats and sharing bits with Fudge and Nobby too.”
Karen Kenward, Community Fundraiser and organiser of the event, said: “We were thrilled the walk was such a success and the weather held out for us too. Seeing so many dogs walking and posing for each class in the dog show was just overwhelming and great fun for the whole family, rosettes were given out for first to fourth placed dogs along with tasty biscuits. The overall early indications show that the event has raised over £7,000 to support palliative care, with sponsorship still to come in. I would like to thank everyone who either entered or supported the event, our volunteers and staff, our sponsors – Your Leisure, White Mill Veterinary Centre and a special thank you to Jenkins Canine Services. Please look out for the photos of the event on our Facebook page.”
If you or someone you know is coping with a life limiting illness and you think you may benefit from Pilgrims support, talk to your GP or Healthcare Professional about the options or click here for information about our Wellbeing and Social Programme.
12th March 2019
Brave soles, take on Firewallk challenge to raise in excess of £25,000 for Pilgrims
Over 110 brave supporters faced their fears and conquered Pilgrims Hospices Firewalk at Canterbury University and the Ashford hospice on Friday 1 March and Saturday 2 March 2019.
The challenge involved walking barefoot over red-hot wood embers measuring 800 degrees!
Many were there putting their best foot forward to support the charity who provided end of life cared for friends and loved ones. All those taking part enjoyed a motivational training seminar by firewalk specialist Cliff Mann, before stepping outside to face the flames.
Firewalking is a huge personal challenge.
Cliff Mann – Firewalk Expert
Cliff said: “Firewalking is a huge personal challenge, I’ve been teaching people the skills for 30 years now and I want everyone who makes the walk to raise funds for their chosen charity to have an amazing time and feel completely empowered by the experience.
“I’m proud to say that over the years my training has helped participants to raise over 1.5 million for charitable causes.”
Onlookers were treated to a dazzling display by ‘warm-up act’, Paul Incredible, who performed an array of extraordinary feats in a 15-minute fire show.
Paul said: “It’s a pleasure to be back again for Pilgrims Hospices Firewalk. Through personal experience, I know the importance of the end of life care given and the additional support offered to friends and families who have been touch by their services.”
Robert Grew, Events Fundraiser for Pilgrims Hospices, explains: “It was great to see so many people overcoming such a primal fear and hot-footing it across the coals in support of the hospices. You could see how much it meant to each person once they had made it across; they were beaming from ear to ear! And so, they should be! They’ve all raised an incredible amount of money; vital funds that will mean Pilgrims Hospices can continue to be there for people living with an incurable illness and their families right across east Kent.”
PR Jayne Dunsbee, Lord Mayor Colin Spooner And Frances Smith
Donna Lee Norton (41) And Jane Hedges (49) Whitstable In Honour Of And Motivated By Donna Lee's Friend Who Was Cared For At PHC And Died Week Before Firewalk
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He added: “We’d like to thank the University of Kent Sport for hosting us in Canterbury; I’m pleased that so many supporters were there to cheer our brave walkers across the burning embers.
“Also our thanks to Pilgrims Hospices services team who made it possible to host the event within the hospice grounds in Ashford. It made a very special venue and I’m pleased that so many supporters were there to cheer our brave walkers across the burning embers.”
“Thank you to all of our fabulous volunteers who gave their time freely to look after and feed spectators on the night too.
“Everyone’s help has been key in making the event possible.”
“Sponsorship money is still coming in currently and we can’t wait to announce the final total later this spring,” Robert added.
There are some great challenges and events here Pilgrims Hospices Why not take a look and help Pilgrims help even more people who need specialist care?
Care is provided from three hospice sites in Ashford, Canterbury, and Thanet as well as in patients’ own homes. To offer these services to patients and their families the charity must raise £11 million each year from the generous local community.