Fiona’s story: Celebrating Michael’s life

We recently had a chat with Fiona about her own experience with the hospice and the ways her and her family have since decided to celebrate the life of her brother, Michael who was cared for by our hospice in 2022.

I have worked at the charitable St John & St Elizabeth Hospital which is connected to the hospice for over 15 years now so I have always been aware of all the hard work and support the hospice gives to patients and families. However, my family and I have recently had a more personal experience with the hospice as my brother Michael was admitted there in November 2022. Michael was terminally ill with cancer and needed 24-hour care that we were unable to provide for him at home.

From the moment we were in touch with the hospice they were so helpful in getting Michael moved over so that he could have the appropriate care. As soon as he arrived, he felt very comfortable under the care of all the doctors and nurses who were involved in looking after him.

Michael's golden leaf on our Giving Tree dedicated in his memory by Fiona, family and friends.

Michael had learning disabilities which made it difficult for him to communicate his concerns and feelings, but he felt at ease at the hospice. This was so reassuring for us as a family as it took some of the pressure off us and knowing that he was being cared for was a huge relief. The hospice almost became our home for the 4 weeks Michael was there. Nothing was ever too much for the staff and this allowed us and all Michael’s friends to spend our time with him, not having to worry about everything else.

We created a MuchLoved page in tribute to Michael so that people could donate to the hospice that cared for him so dearly. Instead of flowers we just asked that any donations big or small go to this page. We also dedicated a Giving Tree leaf in Michael’s honour as he would always walk past it and say how beautiful it was. Now, we can go there and remember him.

Michael's best friend Kealan (centre) alongside Fiona (left) and her sister Karen following the 2023 London Marathon.

I have not been involved in any of the challenges on offer, but Michael’s best friend Kealan ran the marathon in his memory in 2023 and did so again on Sunday. His wife Kelly and my friend Punita did the abseil down the Orbit too. We also attended the ‘Light Up a Life’ event at Christmas, as a family, which was such a lovely evening. It was wonderful to see so many families coming back to the hospice to celebrate their loved ones.

We will never forget the kindness, care, and support both Michael and our family received, making the most difficult time of our lives a bit easier. We can never thank all the doctors, nurses, therapists, reception staff, volunteers, housekeeping, and catering team who looked after us all enough. Each year we will raise as much as we can for the hospice in Michael’s honour and continue to celebrate his life.

We’re so grateful to Fiona for sharing her story and her family’s experience of the hospice. If you’d like to learn more about the ways you can celebrate and remember the life of your loved one and in turn support the hospice, please visit

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