Whether you’re living with a life-limiting illness, caring for someone who is, or grieving the death of a loved one, we’re here to help.To reach our main reception at the hospice, please call 01246 568801
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“I stayed in the bed next to my beautiful daughter Kim until the day she died. I needed to make every last second count and Ashgate Hospice made sure we did.”
From when she was just five years old, Kimberley Trickett was diagnosed with cancer four times during her short life until her tragic death, aged 20.
After doctors diagnosed her with an aggressive inoperable brain tumor, she spent the last five-and-a-half weeks of her life being cared for at Ashgate Hospice’s Inpatient Unit.
It’s the “compassion” and “love” Kimberley encountered that has inspired her mum Tracie Holocuk to work for the North Derbyshire charity for the last decade as well as help fundraise more than £107,000 in her memory.
Tracie says Kimberley was “fun, intelligent and caring” and was “loved by everyone who had the pleasure of knowing her”.
The 57-year-old, from Chesterfield, said: “I am so proud to call Kim my daughter. She was a very positive person and always said she would beat the cancer – each and every time she did, until the brain tumor.
“Kim won bravery awards and I am not surprised; she was stoic in her battles to beat cancer and positively influence others.”
Before her death, Kimberley was determined to be a nurse and “in the face of adversity” worked hard to achieve a place on a master’s degree in children’s nursing at the University of Nottingham.
In the last few days of her life, the hospice was able to fulfill her wish of visiting her family home, which they called “Butterfly House”, for one final time, which Tracie says “meant everything” to their family.
Kimberley, who was born in Chesterfield and spent most of her life living in Stonebroom, died peacefully at the hospice in July 2009 – just under six weeks after she arrived.
Tracie said: “Before I went to Ashgate I envisaged a place that resembled an old-fashioned poor house, with high ceilings, smelling of sick and stiff matrons barking orders at their staff – I couldn’t have been more wrong.
“As soon as I stood outside the reception, I started to cry with relief, I could already feel the calmness and tranquility of the place.
“The camaraderie of the staff and volunteers brightened up our days and nights. The Ashgate angels helped us so much by being there whenever we needed anything, and the gardens were a great comfort to us all – we even wheeled the bed outside and had a KFC together.
“Our dog Bracken was also allowed to come and see Kim and the food was restaurant standard; they will bend over backwards to give their patients everything and anything they could possibly want.
“It’s just a home from home and my special memories of our time there are still so vivid.”
Now Tracie is supporting the hospice as an ambassador for its upcoming Butterfly Appeal – a theme which is especially apt given Kim’s love and connection to butterflies.
“I once said to Kim in the hospice ‘what are you going to come back as then?’ She replied: ‘Don’t ask daft questions, a butterfly of course!’ added Tracie.
“Kim loved butterflies and they mean the world to us for lots of reasons. I’ll never forget on the night after Kim’s funeral, we saw a tatty, bedraggled, white butterfly and all started crying.
“It was the most beautiful sign that Kim was with me but I was sad. My friend changed that when she said: “If I’d come all that way in the wind and pouring rain, at that time of night, I’d look scruffy too!”
“Now, whenever I see a butterfly I wave. To me it’s Kim. All our family and friends truly believe that whenever we see one it’s Kim popping by to say hello and it’s a reminder to be positive and grateful to be alive.
“When the hospice told me they were holding a Butterfly Appeal it was just meant to be. I hope other families will join me in dedicating a beautiful butterfly keepsake in memory of their loved ones, so the hospice can be there to help people like my Kim in years to come.”
Ashgate Hospice is inviting supporters to dedicate a butterfly in memory of someone special. The stainless steel, handcrafted butterfly is available for a suggested donation of £25.
The butterflies will form part of a stunning display at picturesque Chatsworth between 23rd May and 12th June.