Light up a Life – Angie’s story
St Luke’s supporter Angie shares her story about her Dad, Clive, and how important St Luke’s was to her family…
“St Luke’s looked after my Dad, Clive, wonderfully at the end of his life 30 years ago, and I don’t know how our family would have coped without them.
“Dad was such a lovely man, very easy-going and jolly. He was an electrician and when he went self-employed, I did his typing for him, which meant we were together more and grew even closer. I have fond memories of the caravanning holidays we used to have, too – Mum, Dad and me and my siblings, Julie, Paul and Carol, all together.
“When Dad became short of breath doing simple things, we insisted he went for tests. When they revealed he had asbestosis it was devastating because it’s so serious and there’s no known cure.
“Seeing his condition deteriorate was really tough, and it was harder still when he became so poorly that he needed end of life care. There were such mixed emotions for our family because this was all happening while I was pregnant and me and my husband Colin were excited to be having our first child.
“Everyone was so friendly, his room had beautiful views”
“Hearing the word ‘hospice’ felt frightening. You can’t help imagining a depressing place, but to our relief St Luke’s specialist unit wasn’t like that at all. It was shortly before Christmas when Dad went in, and straight away, we knew he was in safe hands. Everyone was so friendly, his room had beautiful views and mum could stay by his side.
“St Luke’s were so kind and when Christmas Day came, they arranged for Dad to be at home with us for a couple of hours. He was very weak by then and stayed on the sofa, but it meant the world to him – and the whole family – that we could have that last Christmas together. It was the best gift we could have received.
“Just a week later, I went into labour and Mum accompanied me to the hospital – and, after I’d given birth, she raced back to Dad to tell him the happy news.
“Sadly, it was just a few hours later that Dad died and though it was heart-breaking that he never got to meet our new arrival, it has always comforted me that he lived long enough to hear the wonderful news of his birth.
“I’ll never forget the special man my Dad was, and the way St Luke’s helped us all at such a difficult time.”
“I’ll never forget the special man my Dad was, and the way St Luke’s helped us all at such a difficult time. Colin and I decided to call our son Luke, partly because the name couldn’t be shortened but also because I think, subliminally, I associated the name with the great kindness our family received from the hospice team.
“Luke is 30 now, doing well in his career and about to get married. I know Dad and Mum, who died just 18 months after him, would be so proud of Luke and our other children Jake and Tillie. We keep their grandparents’ memory alive, and we do whatever we can to support St Luke’s to say thank-you for making such an important difference.”
Were you touched by Angie’s story? During the festive season, we reach out to the families of our patients, allowing them to tell their stories of care at St Luke’s to people like you. If you’d like to help us continue to deliver our compassionate care, please consider donating to our Light up a Life campaign.