Lisa and Emma’s Story


My Mom, Brenda, was well known at the hospice as she had given her time for many years working as a volunteer co-ordinator and by welcoming visitors while manning one of the two reception desks. She loved volunteering and never missing a shift, she always looked forward to helping.

In April 2014 she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, a diagnosis from which she would likely not survive. In June of that year, Mom received life-lengthening surgery. Throughout her treatment she continued to volunteer at the hospice whenever she felt well enough to do so. When we were told the treatment was no longer working, Mom decided she didn’t want to have a second round of chemotherapy. She stated that she didn’t want pity from those around her, which didn’t surprise us as this was a true reflection of her straight-talking nature. She went about writing her funeral, she picked out her own coffin and decided both the dress code and guest list. She also made it very clear that she would like to stay at the hospice, when the time came.

Mom eventually went through the doors of the hospice, for the very last time. Although we were all very sad to see this, we felt like we had all been wrapped up in a warm hug. Everything was peaceful, from the staff to the building and its surroundings. We were truly welcomed with open arms and in that moment, we could focus on being a family again and spend much needed quality time together.

The whole family were cared for by the hospice and I’ll always remember the little things that made a huge difference to us. I remember Melvin going to find me the softest blanket in the cupboard and Anne giving me a relaxing massage to clear my headache. This time, just for me, was soothing and calm and made me realise the hospice was taking care of my wellbeing as well as my Mom’s. We even held a party in Mom’s room and all the staff and volunteers at the hospice came in to see her. There was so much laughter with balloons, champagne, family and friends.

On the 24th September, it was my daughter, Emma’s birthday and Mom was determined to be there to see it. She stayed true to her word, and at 12:15pm on 25th September, the day after, she quietly passed away.

“We are incredibly grateful for the care and support the whole family received from the hospice; we simply could not have got through that time in our lives without it.”

In her final days Mom said to me, ‘Whatever you do Lisa, do a bit for the hospice’ and that is what we have all gone on to do. In 2016, in what would be Emma’s first fundraising challenge for the hospice, we climbed Cadair Idris! Emma was just 6 years old! Then during the hospice’s 30th anniversary year, we walked 30 miles each month to celebrate the milestone. This year we have challenged ourselves to climb 22 peaks, in 2022! We are proud to do our bit as Mom asked us, to help other families who need the care of the fabulous Mary Stevens Hospice, a place we hold so dear in our hearts.

Emma continues to support the hospice that cared for her Nanna and has raised over £7,000 to date. Without the support of our community fundraising for us, or the kindness of our volunteers like Brenda, our work would not be possible.