When Kay Divall stepped out to join the sponsored 5-mile walk A Night to Shine for Pilgrims Hospices on Friday 20 September, she was thinking of her darling mum Dot who was cared for at the Ashford hospice in August 2019.
Kay has already raised almost £400 in sponsorship with support from her friends and family who know how important the care was for her mum and the family who were there. She said: “My mum Doreen Divall, always known as Dot, was 72 years old and lived with me in Lydd until spending her finals days at Pilgrims Hospice Ashford where she passed away on 1 August 2019.
“She had become unwell in December 2018 when we were visiting family for Christmas. After a crushing diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, she had admissions to several of our local hospitals and Kings College London, only to discover her only option was for chemotherapy.
“Mum made the brave decision not to undertake the treatment and decided she wanted to enjoy her time left and was determined to make the days count. We spent the last few months visiting her favourite places including the seafront, castles and spending time with her family and friends. Mum was determined to get out and about and remained a wonderfully positive person.”
I stayed at the hospice with Mum every night and other family members were with us during the day. We were all treated with amazing compassion and kindness, nothing was too much trouble.
Doreen was taken to hospital in early July and from there to Pilgrims Hospice Ashford on 15 July. Kay explained: “During her time at the hospice, Mum was treated with care and dignity to a level we could never have expected.
“All of the staff were friendly, caring and approachable. I stayed at the hospice with Mum every night and other family members were with us during the day. We were all treated with amazing compassion and kindness, nothing was too much trouble. Mum also had early onset dementia and was uncomfortable in unfamiliar environments; however, at the hospice, she felt comfortable and relaxed.”
Good friends Dionne Clifton and Laura Hickman joined Kay to celebrate her mother’s life and raise vital funds for Pilgrims Hospices by taking part in A Night to Shine on Friday 20 September.
“We’ve been friends for, ‘dare I say it’ 40 years and, we really enjoyed walking with so many others who were there to support such an important charity.” Kay added.
I know my dad would have agreed, the care and the support he and our family received was amazing. This is just our way of saying thank you to Pilgrims Hospices and helping to raise funds for more people who need help in our local area.
Laura’s dad Michael Townend, aged 62, was diagnosed the lung cancer in June 2018 and was admitted to the Ashford hospice later in the year for symptom management. Having received support and treatment, Mike was able to return to the comfort of his own home. As the year progressed, Mike became unwell and returned to the hospice where he passed away in December 2018.
Laura told us: “I know my dad would have agreed, the care and the support he and our family received was amazing. This is just our way of saying thank you to Pilgrims Hospices and helping to raise funds for more people who need help in our local area.”
Kay told us: “There are no words to explain how grateful we are as a family to all at the hospice in Ashford. The doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants, volunteers and the domestic and housekeeping staff. In fact, everyone we had contact with was professional, friendly and made us feel cared for and completely at ease.
“I would like to say, these people who have the ability to make the worst time of any family’s life more comfortable and relaxed are so special. As a family, we are never going to be able to express just how thankful we are to Pilgrims Hospices.”
Robert Grew, Pilgrims Events Manager said: “We wish to thank the ladies for being such wonderful Pilgrims supporters. We hope by sharing your stories, it will encourage others to fundraise for our charity and help us to care for people with life-limiting illnesses in east Kent.”
Find out more about upcoming Pilgrims events at: www.pilgrimshospices.org/events.
Each year Pilgrims supports hundreds of local people coping with a life-limiting illness and their families. The charity offers a range of services: from end of life care given on its wards, to its new wellbeing and social programme supporting people after they are diagnosed to live well and stay independent.