Before self-isolation gripped the UK, Saint Francis Hospice Fundraisers gathered in Essex to run the Brentwood Half Marathon. One of those being cheered on by our supporters, basking in the late winter's sunshine, was Cliff White.
Despite being 56, Jeff White was always Cliff's "little brother." When Jeff's family noticed a yellowish tinge to his cheeks last Christmas, he revealed that he was experiencing pain in his chest and shoulder. Scans revealed that Jeff had cancer in his lungs, liver, and bones.
Jeff was determined to fight it. "What have I done wrong to deserve this?" he would ask his elder sibling.
"After a tearful conversation, Jeff didn't want to talk about it again. He just wanted to get on with it," Cliff remembered. "Sadly, he didn't have much time to 'get on with it'. The cancer was aggressive, and everything happened so quickly."
Jeff struggled through the festive period and geared up for his first chemotherapy session in the new year. Only days after, he was taken to Basildon Hospital. Jeff's liver was shutting down, and he was given only days to live.
In a selfless moment typical of Jeff, he asked to go home so that someone with a treatable condition could take his bed. Our Hospice at Home team arrived at Jeff's house to manage his discomfort and pain, and care for him in his final moments.
"I had no idea that Saint Francis Hospice cared for people in their homes," Cliff admitted. "The nurses stayed to comfort the whole family after he had passed. They were a huge support among all the tears."
"I wanted to give something back to this incredible charity whose staff provide around the clock care," Cliff declared. "I know that Jeff was willing me over the line."
As we face unprecedented times amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we're relying on you to help people just like Jeff, more than ever before. By sponsoring one of our nurses, you can do something truly amazing for people living with life-limiting illnesses in your local boroughs. To find out how you can help fund the invaluable care we provide, please visit www.sfh.org.uk/sponsor-a-nurse, call 01708 723593, or email email@example.com
"Sunday demonstrated how even in uncertain times, we all come together as a community" — Michelle Hughes Gage, Events Co-ordinator, Saint Francis Hospice