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Annie Taylor’s Help for the Homeless – Saint Francis Hospice Story

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Shortly after the turn of the millennium, her grandad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer not that anyone bar his doctor and wife knew. ‘Pa did something classic of his generation and didn’t tell anyone,’ Lizzie joked.

‘Pa also known as Peter Alfred Parish Gay was a stocky guy. At 6’5 ft, he towered over everyone who had the pleasure of meeting him. He was a big friendly giant,’ Lizzie fondly remembered.

When Peter lost weight, he could no longer hide his illness from Lizzie and the rest of his grandchildren. As the weight fell off his arms, Peter began to wear his wristwatch just below his shoulder. When Peter’s health took a turn for the worse, he became an inpatient at our Hospice. Lizzie, only 17 at the time, had preconceptions about what was in store for her and her family.

‘I was bracing myself for something horrific,’ she admitted. ‘We certainly didn’t expect to hear laughter at Saint Francis Hospice. I imagined somewhere super clinical, but it was so beautiful that I forgot I was in a Hospice. We all loved the feeling of normality and the constant presence of the nurses.They didn’t just care for Pa, but my whole family.’                                                         

After her first visit to Saint Francis Hospice, Lizzie recalled how she and her mum cried on the way home but they weren’t tears of pain. ‘They were tears of joy, Lizzie recalled. ‘It was the sheer relief of getting him to somewhere where we knew he would be safe. Pa had three wonderful weeks at the Hospice.’

Lizzie is now in gruelling preparation for the April’s London Marathon 2020 and admitted that training during an English winter takes a lot of motivation. Knowing that she’s doing it for Pa and the rest of our patients is what spurs her on.

Saint Francis Hospice need to find over £21,000 a day to keep doing what we do. If you’re planning a fundraiser this year and would like our Hospice to be your chosen charity, then we’d love to hear from you on 01708 753319 or at fundraising@sfh.org.uk

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