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Sarah Evans is supporting Ashgate Hospice’s Light Up a Life Appeal this winter in memory of her husband, who received “out of this world” care before he died in February.
Tim Evans died in the hospice’s care with Sarah and his beloved daughters by his side, aged just 56.
He had been diagnosed with Metastatic Rectal Cancer in 2019 and received palliative care for three years until his death earlier this year.
Sarah, 50, says Tim was a “wonderful” husband and father, who loved his family and two children, Lucy, 16, and Alice, 13, “more than anything”.
“After three years of battling, Tim slipped peacefully away in Ashgate Hospice on 27th February this year,” she said.
“The care we’ve received has just been out of this world. We have had wonderful support from the palliative care nurses, counselling for me and our girls and help from the social care team too.
“The bed he had was just amazing and we want other people to be able to have the same experience.
“Thank goodness for Ashgate and all the other hospices up and down the country. We couldn’t have managed without them!”
Six months before Tim’s death, he received care and support at home from the hospice’s Palliative Care Specialist Nurses, who ensured he had the correct equipment and medication so he could be as comfortable as possible.
Around a week before he died, as his condition deteriorated, he was transported to Ashgate’s Inpatient Unit for round-the-clock care.
Sarah says the staff and volunteers organised a special birthday party for their daughter, Alice, a few days before he died so they could celebrate together one last time.
She added: “We had visits from the nursing team in the six months before he died and then he went into the Inpatient Unit for the last week of his life. The care was just phenomenal.
“It was a fantastic place for him to be and was just great for us all.
“When we were in the hospice it was going to be Alice’s birthday so they organised a mini party for us with cake, sandwiches, sausages rolls – more food than anyone could eat!
“Tim really enjoyed the party and loved playing with the helium balloons. It was very special to be able to make such special memories with him in his final days.”
As well as the care Tim received from Ashgate, the hospice’s Supportive Care team has been there to support the family emotionally, too.
Lucy, who has recently started her A-Levels, said: “It’s just been lovely to have somebody to talk to and know that there’s somebody there for us.
“It’s great to have somebody who can listen and understand what I’m going through.”
Following the care Tim received, Sarah and her children, from Ashover, have been fundraising to pay for a new bed at the hospice’s Inpatient Unit – an idea inspired by how comfortable Ashgate made him in his final days.
And this winter, in December, they will be taking part in the hospice’s Light Up a Life appeal by dedicating a lantern in memory of Tim.
At the new-look event, Ashgate is inviting people to dedicate a special lantern to their loved ones which can be personalised and displayed at home.
There is also the option to join hundreds of others in a lantern procession to the hospice on the evening of Sunday 4th December.
Once at the hospice, everyone will all come together for a special remembrance event in the beautifully lit garden, where there will be time to reflect, as well as gentle music and refreshments.