Sisters to Star Walk in memory of loved ones
These are the words of Dee Mahandru who was able to spend precious time with his new born daughter Sophia and his loving wife Julie Tointon-Mahandru before he died.
On Saturday, September 22, Julie, together with her sister Jane Tointon, will be supporting the charity's 10k Star Walk in Romford in memory of her husband while raising funds so it can continue providing its extensive range of specialist end of life care services to the community.
"There is always such a lovely atmosphere and everyone who comes along knows that they are making a difference," said Julie from Hornchurch, who is taking part in her 5th Star Walk.
L-R: Jane, Sophia and Julie
"It is so important to give something back.
"People often think of hospices as sad places where you go to die, but that's not the case.
"Dee used to say, the hospice has added life to his days, not just days to his life."
Dee, who had stomach cancer, was admitted to the inpatient unit on four separate occasions for pain management and symptom control.
Julie, 43, was able to stay with Dee in the family room on the unit and says the care he received dramatically improved his quality of life.
And before Dee sadly died in 2010, the couple spent time together at its day services in Pemberton Place where Dee took part in arts and crafts activities, making cushions for his loved ones, including his daughter who was yet to be born.
Pic: Dee and Julie with baby Sophia
"It was such a wonderful distraction," said Julie.
"I was pregnant at the time and I used to take part too, we loved it.
"Sophia still has the cushion her daddy made for her."
The family's connection with Saint Francis Hospice started in 2005 when Julie and Jane's grandad Charles Bishop was cared for on the inpatient unit.
Three months after Dee died, their grandmother Clara Bishop was also looked after on the unit.
Sophia with the cushion made by her Dad
Over the years Jane has been doing everything she can to raise awareness of the Hospice.
The Halifax branch in Upminster where she works regularly invites the Hospice in to fundraise.
Jane is also hoping to spend a day volunteering at one of the Hospice's stores and the bank will even make a donation as part of its support for the community.
"The hospice means so much to our family," said Jane.
"I have seen the brilliant care they provide, not just for older people, but for younger people and their families too."
Check-in opens at 9pm with walkers setting off at 10pm, starting and finishing at The Liberty Centre.
Tickets cost £20 (includes a limited edition 10th birthday t-shirt and medal) with a fundraising target of £120.
Book your place on the by visiting our website or contact our Events Team on 01708 753319 ext 2278 or email firstname.lastname@example.org