Lori and Gavin's story

When I walked down the aisle earlier this year, I knew the man I was about the marry would soon be gone.

At just 39 years old, Gavin was told he had only weeks to live after his extremely rare form of bladder cancer had spread to his stomach. We were crushed. Only eight months before, we had celebrated the birth of our first child, Fletcher, and we were beginning to plan our wedding. We’d just settled into our lives as new parents. Gavin, who had his own business, was doing well and I had made the decision to leave work so that I could be a full-time mum. Everything seemed perfect. Then, in a heartbeat, our lives turned upside down and our dreams of a wonderful future together shattered completely. We were in shock, so afraid of what was to come and we felt very alone.

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Thankfully, Ashgate Hospicecare was there for us. Annette, our Palliative Care Nurse, was an angel. She listened to us and got to know our situation. She immediately helped to manage Gavin’s pain and visited as often as she needed in order to make sure that he was as comfortable as possible. But not only that, she put us in touch with the different teams at the hospice to make sure that Gavin had the equipment he needed to be at home, to make sure he was getting the lymphoedema treatment he needed. She also put us in touch with the Hospice’s Welfare Advisor, who gave us invaluable help with the difficult financial situation we suddenly found ourselves in. Ashgate Hospicecare helped to guide us at a time when the future seemed so bleak.

Within weeks, Gavin’s condition deteriorated, and he was taken onto the ward for round the clock specialist care. We knew that his time was coming to an end, but the hospice still managed to get Gavin home for a short while as he so desperately wanted to spend precious time at home with Fletcher. It was devastating to realise that Gavin and I would no longer have the future we planned, and I honestly don’t know how we would have coped through our darkest times without Ashgate Hospicecare.

It wasn’t just the incredible medical care that eased our distress. What really made the difference to Gavin’s quality of life was the unflinching compassion and kindness shown by all of the Ashgate Hospicecare staff. Nothing was too much trouble - not even our wedding. You see, when Annette discovered we had planned to get married, she formed a plan of her own. Knowing that Gavin could have only days left to live, Annette helped to organise our wedding. Just two days later, I was walking down the aisle in the hospice’s beautiful Garden Room to marry the love of my life.

Getting married in a hospice is not something any bride ever imagines they’ll need to do. Yet, despite the inevitable sadness of the weeks to follow, thanks to Ashgate Hospicecare, Gavin and I were able to celebrate our love for each other, with our closest family and friends, and create special memories amidst the heartache. That’s something I will cherish forever.

My wonderful husband, Gavin, died in April this year. The loss I feel is immeasurable and not a minute goes by when I don’t miss him. But I am hugely comforted by the fact that his final weeks were made less painful, even happy, thanks to Ashgate Hospicecare. He was able to spend precious time at home with our young son, we were able to have our special wedding day together and I will be forever grateful for the care and compassion he was shown at the hospice.

I know what a difference Ashgate Hospicecare makes, and why your support is so crucial - not just today but so Ashgate can be here for future generations too.

Gavin, like me, would have wanted nothing more than to help secure the future of Ashgate Hospicecare so that families like ours can be supported during their hardest times.

Referrals to Ashgate have doubled since 2014. The hospice teams are caring for more people than ever before and are seeing more patients with complex and multiple care needs. Most of this is only possible through the amazing support they get from the community which provides over 70% of funding.

The teams at Ashgate Hospicecare are continually thinking about ways to meet changing demands – such as through the beautiful new individual rooms that they hope to open before Christmas.  It’s so important we all help to make sure the hospice is here for future generations.

Without donations, people, like my husband Gavin, wouldn’t be able to receive the specialist care they need and deserve, and I can’t imagine how difficult that would be for families who find themselves in the same situation we did. The future of our hospice really does rely on people, like you. Thank you so much for supporting our wonderful hospice and families like mine.

 

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Will you make sure that Ashgate Hospicecare is here for the future?