Elaine Goddard, 51, is terminally ill and currently staying at St Catherine's Hospice. Worried that she won't be able to enjoy Christmas with her family, St Catherine's helped her celebrate Christmas early. Here, Elaine shares her story.
"St Catherine's helped me decorate my room with a Christmas tree, twinkling lights, and hanging decorations. They're very amenable and the nursing staff loved the idea of bringing Christmas forward as much as I did. I wanted to be able to celebrate a nice day with my family and give them some gifts. We brought in food and the nurses took pictures with my family and sung along to Christmas music.
My brain tumours mean I can sometimes be forgetful so when my daughter arrived with the presents there was one sack for her but two sacks and two stockings for my son! I'd forgotten what I'd bought him so he got more gifts than I'd thought - he definitely did well! It was nice for me to see them opening their pressies. I didn't want anything other than to see them.
At the moment my health is rapidly going downhill. My illness has affected my vision, speech and hearing but I still want to fully take part in things and St Catherine's is helping me do that. I've always loved celebrating and it's brilliant I can continue to celebrate at the hospice. It means a lot that I can make things as lovely as possible for everybody.
St Catherine's is like a family and the staff and volunteers are more than 100% dedicated, they can't do enough for you. They've got to know my family and being at the hospice makes me feel safe and relaxed. That's a massive thing as it can be scary when you're ill.
It was a big shock finding out I'd got cancer as I'd never even been ill before and it meant all my plans for the future were gone. When St Catherine's was mentioned I automatically thought it's the end. At the hospice everyone is so happy and positive though, and it's taken away my fear because I know I'll be looked after and the team will make me as pain free as possible. I feel so safe, I know I'm going to be okay. The only thing I can't do is protect my family and I worry about them being left behind but I know they'll support each other.
Now I've come to terms with things I'm adjusting my life to try and fit in as many memories as I can. St Catherine's helps me look at things in a very positive way and I've got an advantage compared to people who are literally just run over because I've got chance to say goodbye to my family.
I always thought a hospice would be miserable and depressing but it's not at all, it's lovely. It's been a complete eye-opener learning what a hospice actually is and it's one of the most worthwhile charities you can support. Helping me make the end of my life enjoyable has been one of the greatest gifts St Catherine's could give me and my family."
It's the little things that make a big difference. Donate today and help St Catherine's be there to give more people chance to say a proper goodbye to their family and loved ones this Christmas. Visit:www.stch.org.uk/donate - Thank you.