“We can’t thank St Giles enough for giving us one last Christmas together as a family.”
When Rachel Turner found a lump in her breast, she and her husband Jon were devastated to discover she had cancer.
“After we got home from the hospital we cried together sitting on the patio then she said ‘That’s it, that’s the last time we are going to cry. I’m going to fight this!’” said Jon.
“Rachel was determined, all she wanted to do was spend her life with our girls Freya and Jess, and she did everything she could to be there for them.”
Despite extensive treatment, Rachel’s cancer was later confirmed as incurable.
“She made a bucket list of things she wanted to do with the children, from visiting the Eiffel Tower and taking a trip to Disneyland Paris, to making sure that Freya saw Big Ben and revisiting Rachel’s favourite childhood holiday on the Isle of Wight.
“She wanted to give the girls as many memories as she could and kept going even when she was struggling.
“Rachel knew she wasn’t going to get better and told me she wanted to go into St Giles Hospice,” continued Jon.
“I was in denial, but Rachel knew what she wanted and when the time came for her to go to the hospice, I was so glad she was at St Giles.
“When Rachel was admitted, one of the first things she did was have a long conversation with one of the doctors, who really listened to her story and got to know Rachel as a person, not just a patient.
“The doctor was so kind and so lovely and asked Rachel to tell her story and by the end of it, everyone was in tears, Rachel, me, the nurse and the doctor.
“When Rachel said she didn’t know why she was crying because she knew her story, the doctor said it was probably the first time someone has listened to our story and she was right.”
For the Turner family, St Giles will always be an incredibly special place as it’s where Jon and the girls spent their last Christmas with Rachel.
“We spent so much time at the hospice and the staff looked after the family as well as Rachel, making sure we were fed and providing support for all of us.
“We can’t thank the staff enough for giving us our last Christmas Day together as a family and so many special memories of Rachel,” said Jon.
“It was so hard leaving that day after we’d opened all the presents because we all knew that it would be our last Christmas with Rachel.”
Rachel died just a few weeks later.
“Rachel was an amazing woman and now when I am trying to juggle life with the girls, friends and family will tell me to ‘channel my inner Rach’ and it always gets me through.”