Day two of The Gazette’s Hospice Heroes campaign - in which we aim to raise £200,000 for the refurbishment of Trinity and Brian House hospices - and we talk to families of Trinity.
When Mark Parsons discussed going to Trinity Hospice with his GP, he was told people only went there to die.
And that’s a misconception Mark’s family is keen to break.
Mark was diagnosed with bowel cancer by doctors at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in May 2011.
He was operated on the same day and went through six months of chemotherapy, but it was unsuccessful.
He was admitted to Trinity Hospice for pain management in October and again in January last year. He died aged just 44.
And it is because of the high level of care and support Mark, his wife Jane and their four children received from staff at the hospice that the family is working hard to raise funds and awareness of Trinity.
Jane, 46, said: “Everybody made us feel so welcome, and nothing was too much trouble for us not only while Mark was there, but afterwards as well.”
Jane and her youngest children, Katie, 11, and Charlie, seven, received counselling through Trinity’s Linden Centre to help them through what was happening to Mark, and the service remains available to them should they still need it.
Jane, who has supported Trinity by taking part in two Illumathons, said: “A lot of people don’t understand what Trinity is there for, and they wont until they are touched by what they do.
“Most people think of hospices as sad and unhappy places, but they are not at all.
“Our former GP told Mark not to go to a hospice as people only go there to die, and that’s the idea that people have in their head.
“Mark got palliative care there, that’s the reason he went in. The doctors are there to sort medication out – that’s their role to help people.
“Yes, some people die there, but they do so in a warm and safe environment.”
Jane, who lives in Marton, admits she didn’t know where the hospice was until Mark got ill, but is calling on the people of Blackpool and the Fylde to get to know it, understand what it’s there for and support it through The Gazette’s campaign.
She added: “An update of the building would be wonderful.
“The windows are very draughty. We were there in the winter and it was cold.
“It would be nice for them to get new comfy chairs as well, but the hospice is a wonderful place filled with amazing people.
“I want to help spread the word and tell everyone the work they do at Trinity.”
Jane and her family are taking part in Trinity’s Santa Dash later this year.
For Margaret Barber, Trinity Hospice’s is a lifeline.
Two years ago, Margaret, 83, was diagnosed with stomach cancer.
She visits the Day Care Unit every Tuesday, and enjoys a relaxation treatment as well as various craft activities with people in the same situation as herself.
She said: “Here I can talk to people about things I can’t talk to my family about.
“It’s easier to talk to people who are in or who have been in the same situation as you.
“Sometimes your family doesn’t want to talk to you about things they think might hurt you.
“This is somewhere you can talk to people and tell them things you’d never dream of telling your family.
“This place really is a lifeline to me, and I think it is to most people. It’s really wonderful what they do here.”
Margaret, who has been using the day care centre for around 18 months, couldn’t praise Trinity’s staff and volunteers enough.
She said: “The people here are so very, very nice. Everyone is wonderful.
“I don’t know how I would be mentally or physically if it wasn’t for a place like this.”
Margaret, who lives in Cleveleys, underwent a very long operation on her stomach, and now faces another operation on her heart for a separate condition.
“The people who use Trinity have faced death, but we are living people and we are not mournful,” she said.
“We carry on as best we can, and we talk about what we are going through if we want and feel able to.
“Here we have some really wonderful care and attention that we could never get anywhere else.
“I have faced what I have been through, and I will face whatever else comes up.”
Click here to read how The Gazette launched the Hospice Heroes appeal: BE A HERO - AND HELP MAKE OUR HOSPICES THE BEST.