August 8, 2019 9.23 am This story is over 51 months old

Man praises “phenomenal” hospice care after wife’s death

Raffle money allowed his wife to die with dignity

A Lincoln man has praised the “phenomenal” care of St Barnabas Hospice and how money from a raffle enabled his wife to die on her terms with dignity.

Alan Kember and his wife Helen, who were married for 42 years, both attended coffee mornings and Reiki sessions at the Lincoln Day Therapy Centre.

Helen was diagnosed in 2014 with stage four lung cancer, which had spread to her neck, collarbone and both lungs. She was treated for four years until last summer when she asked if she could stop the treatment as she had had enough.

It spread to the brain in January 2019 and she died soon after that at the St Barnabas Inpatient Unit in Lincoln. Her husband Alan said he can’t thank the hospice enough for its support.

St Barnabas provides patients and their families with free care and support at their Day Therapy Centres across Lincolnshire.

The St Barnabas Raffles make a huge contribution towards this care and the Lottery team has raised over £3.5 million for the Hospice over the years. This includes money from twice-yearly raffles.

Alan still goes back to the coffee mornings because he enjoys the company and thinks he can give something back to the Hospice.

He said: “Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has bought St Barnabas raffle tickets over the years. The money raised will help people like me attend regular coffee mornings and complementary therapy sessions to help relieve anxiety at such a difficult time.

“There are not enough words to describe the care; it was phenomenal during the four-and-a-half weeks Helen was in the Hospice. It wasn’t just care for her; it was care for me, for the whole family and for our friends who came up.

“The staff at the Hospice were just brilliant; not just the nurses and doctors but also the volunteers, the cooks, everybody.”

He added: “Helen and I were married for 42 years and she taught me three big things in life. She taught me generosity, she taught me kindness and she taught me how to have fun.

“Six months ago, she said to me ‘I don’t mind if I die, we’ve had such a brilliant life.’ She was great and I’m going to miss her like crazy. I do miss her like crazy.

“If I could spend one more day with my beautiful wife, I think I’d just stay sat down with her, hold her hand and just look into her eyes.”

Click here to purchase some raffle tickets to help support more families like Alan and Helen or call the charity’s Lottery office on 01522 546500.