Skip Atkins is one of Saint Francis Hospice‘s most dedicated supporters. Skip’s connection with the charity began in 2015 when his wife, Jan, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since then, Skip has been here, there and everywhere at the Hospice: recording patients’ life stories, volunteering, and fundraising.
Throughout the lockdown, he’s been busking in Upminster, entertaining the socially-distanced queue for Waitrose. Skip revealed lots of money – the type you can fold – has been dropped into the Hospice’s famous orange buckets.
‘People’s generosity has been captivating,’ he said.
Skip has raised over £1,600 by playing tunes from the 1950s to the present day.
When Jan entered end-of-life care, Skip explained how the Hospice wasn’t just there for her cancer treatment, but also psychological support. ‘Before we discovered the Hospice, Jan was in a bad way emotionally,” he recalled.
The Hospice’s Family Support team assisted Jan and her loved ones with pre-bereavement and bereavement therapy. Jan also found solace at the Hospice’s social hub, Pemberton Place, where she enjoyed art and crafts therapy with other people living with life-limiting illnesses.
‘The initial fear of going to a hospice lifted as soon as we went through the gates,’ Skip remembered. ‘Jan ended up falling in love with the place, and it was where she wanted to spend her last days. The help and care she received was magnificent.’
Jan passed away peacefully at Saint Francis Hospice after her final wish of attending her daughter’s wedding came true. She was 59.
For anyone wanting to get involved in supporting the Hospice, Skip has some words of encouragement: ‘Saint Francis Hospice is an oasis of love, happiness, kindness and care. Embrace it, because it will embrace you.’
You can help people just like Jan live in dignity by supporting Saint Francis Hospice’s Urgent Appeal. You can find out more here.
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