A Gift that keeps on giving
Saturday 5 December 1999 was a significant day for Peter Baran and his late wife Yvonne. Fifteen years on, this date remains fully etched in Peter's memory. "It was a time of absolute despair at the realization that the bowel cancer Yvonne had been so bravely fighting was finally going to take his beloved wife. "When she went out of the house my heart literally broke," remembers Peter.
As painful as that time was for Peter, it was also when he first experienced the amazing work of Hospice.
"When I arrived at St Joseph Hospice, to my surprise, Yvonne was sitting up in bed and looking happy. From the moment I set foot in the building, I experienced a wonderful warm feeling surrounding me. I was welcomed into a family atmosphere, embraced by people who understood our situation and what we both faced. It was all the incredible people I met at Hospice that gave me the courage to carry on," says Peter.
Yvonne died on 21 January 2000. "For seven weeks we discovered the loving kindness and care that surrounded both Yvonne and our family. Yvonne certainly appreciated the ‘little extras' like having her feet massaged and I always appreciated the comforting cup of tea that was always on offer, and the drinks trolley made for a homely atmosphere," says Peter thoughtfully.
Peter was incredibly touched by the genuine care that he, his son John and Yvonne experienced during her last weeks. "I have overwhelming gratitude to everybody at St Joseph's for making Yvonne's last weeks so peaceful. Having Hospice support at such a difficult time makes it all the more meaningful," he says.
"I feel so lucky to have been touched by Hospice during my darkest days. I don't believe you can call Hospice a ‘service' as it's something you can't buy - it's just an experience you come to appreciate. I wouldn't want other people to go through the death of a loved one without their support, so I donate regularly to enable others to feel the same genuine care and love that I was fortunate enough to receive," says Peter.
So significant is Peter's gratitude to Hospice, that in addition to his regular donations he is committed to leaving a bequest to Mercy Hospice in his Will.
"My son and I have discussed my desire to continue helping people to receive Hospice care after I have gone and he completely supports my decision to leave a gift in my Will. It really goes to show the positive impact Hospice has had on our family. The great thing with a bequest is, it doesn't impact on my current financial position, but I can continue making a real difference to those with needs in the future, well beyond my lifetime - and that means everything to me," says Peter.