Martha’s story

“My Grandpa never waited for what he was in need of, and when the staff came to help him they always did so with heart-warming care and a genuine desire to do all they could.”

Martha Davis’ Grandpa Alan Bird was a patient at St Giles receiving treatment for cancer. He died at the age of 80, but his Granddaughter was left with a lasting impression of the care provided by the staff throughout her Grandpa’s treatment. Martha, a student in Manchester, wrote this the night her beloved Grandpa died and it was shared at his funeral.

“Cancer stripped my Grandpa of everything, except his iron will and dignity, the latter of which was preserved solely due to the incomparably dedicated care he received at St Giles Hospice. Dying matters, as it is the way we make our exit from this world. Whilst everyone constantly focuses on striving for progression in terms of health, career and ambitions, most of the patients come to St Giles knowing they are unable to carry on participating in their lives as once was.

“All the staff at the hospice operated in this space, which when described to some may seem like a dreaded limbo between life and death, an uncomfortable space about which discussions should not take place. The staff at the hospice, however, somehow managed to make this space seem a little less of an agonising limbo, but a process in which they guide you through as a family. While many times I spent at the hospice were not idyllic, the place itself is a fabulous facility filled with some of the most incredible people I have ever had the privilege to meet. There was not one beat missed by all staff at all times.

“Dying matters, as we all knew it was coming for my Grandpa. This is a reality that I am still struggling with, even though this process for him is now over and he is at peace. Every part of me yearns to see him barge through the front door and announce his arrival in his powerful voice and even more impressive presence. I know that, terribly, this will never happen.

“What grounds me in this blinding sense of devastation is knowing that we all as a family – and later in his illness thanks to St Giles – enabled him to have the best life, and latterly, end of life care that he could have had, given the extent of his disease. My Grandpa has been with me through everything in my whole life and thanks to the way in which his end of life care was handled by the staff at St Giles, I was able to be with him in the last moments of his life. I can never thank them enough for the care they gave him.”

We can only support families like Alan’s thanks to the generosity of our local community. Thank you for helping us be there to support Alan and Martha during such a difficult time.

It takes a community to make a hospice. Thank you.