Laura Chapman-Modi (27) from Wembley, London, recently experienced Pilgrims Hospices care when her sister, Katy Chapman-King, from Birchington, was cared for at Pilgrims Hospice Thanet during February and March 2018, aged 29. Here, Laura shares how Pilgrims supported Katy, and her family, so that they could create special memories together. Now, Katy’s family and friends are fundraising for Pilgrims so that others can continue to benefit from local hospice care.
My sister, Katy, was introduced to Pilgrims when she was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer just before her wedding day on 24 August 2014; a disease we’d already lost our father to years before. Katy was in remission for more than two years, but unfortunately the cancer came back and was no longer treatable.
Katy was offered to stay at the Thanet hospice for respite and symptom control, both before and after her wedding, to ensure that she could make the big day – and she did! She knew that this was the place she would want to spend her last few weeks; she’d been there before, knew the staff and felt safe in the hands of the Pilgrims doctors and nurses. They helped to alleviate Katy’s fears around dying and supported our whole family whilst she was in their care, and they continue to do so now that she has passed away.
When your loved one is ill, the hospice almost becomes a second home; the Pilgrims staff make you feel as welcome and as cared for as possible.
All the Pilgrims staff are very knowledgeable and provide fantastic support not just for patients but for their families, too. Katy received expert care from Pilgrims. They helped with symptom-control for the type of cancer she had and provided reassurance and support at a really difficult time. As a family, we will always be so grateful for this. When your loved one is ill, the hospice almost becomes a second home; the Pilgrims staff make you feel as welcome and as cared for as possible.
Nothing was ever too much to ask; Pilgrims would always try to help in any way they could to make Katy’s wishes fulfilled – including a night out at the pub! This helped us to build special memories in the last few weeks we had with her.
Pilgrims would always try to help in any way they could to make Katy’s wishes fulfilled.
A big highlight for Katy was that her beloved cats – Honey, Hope and Pebbles – were able to come into Pilgrims and visit her. They were such an important part of her life and having them in the hospice gave her so much comfort. Pilgrims also made sure that Katy could go out as much as possible and continue to do things when she wanted to. This even meant that she got her first tattoo, which she had always wanted to do.
In appreciation of the care that Katy received and in her memory, myself, Katy’s husband, Alex Chapman-King (34), and several other family members and friends are now fundraising for Pilgrims. We completed It’s a Knockout in May 2018; our team, Katy’s Kittens, came in fifth place and raised more than £1,000. We’re also planning sponsored runs for Pilgrims including the Canterbury Half Marathon, as well as a skydive, to continue raising much-needed money for such a worthwhile cause so that the hospice can continue the fantastic work it does day in, day out. We hope that our fundraising will help other families like us to experience the extra special care that Pilgrims offers.
Alex: “Pilgrims provided a lifeline”
Katy’s husband, Alex, shares why he is personally motivated to support Pilgrims.
“My life was pretty much normal until I turned 30 in 2014. That year, my Dad, Barry King, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and cared for at the Thanet hospice. Two days before Dad’s funeral, Katy was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. We’d already planned to get married that August. Pilgrims provided a lifeline when Katy was first diagnosed, managing to get her feeling well enough for our wedding day.
I’m choosing to fundraise for Pilgrims so that the support they gave Katy and my dad can be offered to others who are experiencing palliative care in the local east Kent community.
“Pilgrims staff were always available to offer support and care, not only to Katy but to me as well. They allowed my last few weeks with her to be memorable, helping us to create quality time by controlling Katy’s pain and symptoms. The hospice enabled her to pass away with dignity and respect. I believe everyone has the right to die with dignity and respect and Pilgrims offer this aspect of care. For me, this is why I’m choosing to fundraise for Pilgrims; so that the support they gave Katy and my dad can be offered to others who are experiencing palliative care in the local east Kent community.”
If you’d like to sponsor Laura, Alex and team Katy’s Kittens for their fantastic fundraising please visit their JustGiving page.