As well as talking about my biggest mistakes, I also wanted to share some of the stories and experiences that have made me proud to be a fundraiser over the last 10 years. I'd also love to hear your stories of the moments that have brought home how important fundraising is to you...
If you’ve ever been to a hospice then you’ll know that men tend to be few and far between. Blokes under 40 are even rarer and when I started work at St Teresa’s Hospice in Darlington I was the only one!
This meant that I was often called on to help lift and shift equipment. This was everything from delivering donated goods to shops, to helping one of our volunteer drivers deliver equipment to people’s homes.
One of the main services at the hospice was a hospice at home service, where volunteer sitters helped to care for people in the last stages of life, in conjunction with the patient's GP and nursing team.
Often the person needed special beds and mattresses delivering at quite short notice and I occasionally helped Keith, our volunteer driver.
As a fresh-faced 22 year old this experience really taught me a lot about humility, compassion and emotions.
Going into someone’s home when they were only hours/days from death and playing a small part to help them die with dignity, surrounded by their love ones and in as much comfort as possible, was an emotional, but rewarding experience.
The gratitude shown to us by the patient’s families and carers made it all worthwhile and they often couldn’t describe how much it meant to keep their mum/dad etc at home to die.
One visit in particular sticks in my mind.
We went round on the early evening and set up a bed for someone in their front room. Sadly the gent died during the night and we had to go round the next day and collect the bed.
As soon as we walked through the door his daughter broke down in tears saying how much it meant to be able to keep their dad at home until the end.
Now, I’ve always struggled to keep my tears at bay at the best of times and within a couple of minutes I was also crying my eyes out in the this stranger’s front room hugging the daughter and comforting her.
It’s a moment I’ve never forgotten. It brought home just how big a difference the hospice made in the local community and why we needed to raise more funds.
Experiences like this make you realise just how important fundraising is and how it can change lives.
Any time I’m having a bad day, I always try and remember moments like this and remember why I’m doing what I am. If you haven’t been out to visit some of your beneficiaries or talked to some of your front line workers for a while then I’d urge to do so today...