Stevenage mum raises £11,000 for hospice cuddle bed in memory of late husband
PUBLISHED: 12:02 15 December 2019
A former hospice volunteer has raised more than £11,000 to fund a 'cuddle bed' for Garden House Hospice Care's inpatient unit, after her late husband benefitted from one.
Karen Gilbert from Stevenage had volunteered at the hospice inpatient unit for eight years, but experienced it first-hand when her husband Alan was admitted into the care of Garden House. Alan sadly passed away on the November 18, 2017.
Before Alan's death, the couple had discussed the difference a cuddle bed had made to the end of his journey, and they decided they would like to raise money to buy one for the hospice.
Karen said: "The hospice is a wonderful place and I was so happy that Alan felt comfortable enough to come in for care.
"He wasn't sure at first, but as soon as we arrived, he looked at me and said he understood why I spent so much time there - it was very family orientated and he didn't seem to be afraid anymore.
"The hospice made the most difficult time in our lives a time to look back on with fond memories.
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"In Alan's final days he was cared for in a cuddle bed. Having a hug with the ones you love means so much at any age. Being so close to Alan and just lying with him was so comforting for the both of us."
Karen and her family raised a total of £11,181.45 in Alan's memory.
"We're thrilled with the total amount raised and wouldn't have be able to do it without the support of our family and friends," Karen continued.
"Everyone got involved, hosting line dancing fundraisers, quiz nights, world cup barbecues, Burns Night celebrations and raffles.
"Our daughter, Lesley Ann, completed a 15-mile tandem cycle ride raising a total of £1,500 which was a huge achievement for her and we're so proud.
"I want to thank everyone for their help and support over the last two years. Fundraising for a charity so close to our hearts has helped me get through the hardest years of my life."
Director of patient services Jayne Dingemans added: "The cuddle bed will allow families to spend really important time together towards the end of a loved one's life. "We're delighted to hear that Karen is thinking of joining us to volunteer again and look forward to welcoming her back with open arms."