Help Saint Francis Hospice make home where the heart is

Left, Alison Fox (sister),  Helen Fox (mum), Nanny Fox (dad’s mum), John Fox dad) and Jo Fox
Written by: Anita McCarthy

"Even though he was dying and it was really sad, I felt blessed that we were able to say a proper goodbye. I spent every night after work and most weekends with him and those moments we shared will always mean so much to me and stay in my heart forever!”


As Saint Francis Hospice launches its Spring Appeal, it is asking the local community to make home where the heart is.

Our homes are a place of comfort, security and years of happy memories and for many people who are facing the last weeks or days of their life, home is the only place they wish to be.

Saint Francis Hospice does everything it can to fulfil a patient’s wishes and its Hospice at Home nurses and care team give patients and families all the care and support they need during such a difficult time.

Unfortunately, while the need for professional hospice care across Havering, Brentwood, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and West Essex grows each year, the charity only receives 28% funding from the government and relies on donations to make up 72% of its income.

Always here for people like Jo's dad, John

As part of this year’s Spring Appeal, Jo Fox shares her experience of how Saint Francis Hospice enabled her to spend precious time with her dad John Fox before he died.

"My dad was the life and soul of the party,” said Jo.

“Once you had met him, you would never forget him. He had a massive sensitive heart who liked chatting to everyone.

"He had always been fit and healthy but in 2005 at the age of 58, he started getting pains in his joints. He was in so much pain in September that year, he went to his GP where he had a blood test which lead to various tests to finally revealing he had secondary bone cancer and primary prostate cancer.

"Some people don't get a chance to say goodbye to their loved ones so the following 17 months were a very special time for our family. During that time, we enjoyed a family holiday.

“Out of the seven days we were away, Dad only had three good days. I remember a boat trip out to sea, he had a special connection with the ocean. I also recall playing bat and ball with him on the beach and just laughing together for hours.

"Saint Francis Hospice was fantastic. The love warmth and care was something else!

"Dad was so brave and he wasn't scared of dying but it was so hard to see him in pain. He was admitted to the ward a few times to get his pain and symptoms under control and he was able to return back home.

"In March 2007, he became bedbound and was getting weaker. The Hospice at Home nurses came to visit twice a day to make sure he was comfortable.

"The Hospice really looked after our family too. I had reiki with the therapy team. My mum and I also had counselling to help us cope with our grief.”

Left, Alison Fox (sister),  Helen Fox (mum), Nanny Fox (dad’s mum), John Fox dad) and Jo Fox (croppe

Make a donation

Can you give today so more families like Jo’s can receive the professional care and support they need?