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“I will always remember the care that my Dad, and us as a family, received from all the staff at the hospice with great fondness.” Amanda Lowis

For three decades Eden Valley Hospice and Jigsaw have held the hands of local people during the most challenging times in their lives. Your vital support has created precious memories for thousands of local people and even though technology, medication and our care have changed over the decades our specialist care teams have continued to support local people.

In 2008, the hospice supported Jim (James) Miskelly and almost 13 years later his Daughter Sandra Campbell still has special memories of Eden Valley Hospice.

Sandra explained, “We will be eternally grateful to all the staff at the hospice for making Dad’s last few weeks special and allowing Bracken my golden retriever, his best buddy, to be by his side.

“All Dads are amazing but he was one in a million. Losing his right hand as a teenager whilst helping out at Whinfell Forest, near Penrith, never stopped him carrying on with a normal life, spending over 40 years working as a welder for Bendalls in Carlisle, driving a manual car, peeling potatoes and tying his own shoe laces were a few of the ‘normal’ things he did.

“He was an avid gardener all his life, spending most of his days in his garden and greenhouse potting up many plants and vegetables. So when the staff at the hospice discovered this they would move his bed in different positions so he could get a better view of the garden, plants and birds, oh, and the rabbits! Apparently the only time he pressed the buzzer for the nurses to come was to tell them that those blooming rabbits were eating the plants again!

“I think he would be most impressed with the new garden and the wall to keep those blooming rabbits out! I will treasure the last few nights that I had with him as I slept by his side holding his hand and was there by his side as he slipped away to look after an extra special garden in the sky (I do hope they got him a greenhouse!).”

Due to the challenges presented by Covid-19 our care has changed and adapted to meet the needs of our patients, their families and the local community. Despite some of the challenges being difficult for staff, patients and their families, the hospice has continued to support the local community and local NHS during these challenging times.

In 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, we supported David Jackson and his family. David’s daughter, Amanda Lowis, talks about the vital care her Dad and family received.

Amanda explained “In July [2020] my Dad was admitted to Eden Valley Hospice for some support with his cancer treatment. Although it was in the height of the pandemic they were very supportive and made it possible for my Mum to visit him each day. My sister and I were also able to visit him on occasions too.

“As time passed, Dad’s cancer progressed rapidly and it became apparent that he would spend his last days under the amazing care of the hospice. After visiting the hospice and seeing first-hand what fantastic work all the staff do I felt that I wanted to give something back and my Dad also wanted to do some kind of fundraising.

“I looked through the hospice’s website and came across the 20km in 2020 challenge. I thought “that’s a great idea, I can spread it into small runs,” however my husband had other ideas and challenged me to complete my first ever 10km run. On completing the run he signed me up to another 10km which saw me run from Carlisle to Gretna. The whole time I was running I was inspired by my Dad’s outlook on life and how positive he was in such a sad time for us all as a family.

“Dad was the strength in our family and the one who would push us to believe in ourselves and what we are capable of. I am so proud that I was able to complete this challenge before he passed.

“I will always remember the care that my Dad, and we as a family, received from all the staff at the hospice with great fondness. They treated my Dad with dignity and supported my mum, sister and myself every step of the way.

“Dad was at peace when he left us and that was mainly down to the hospice and being able to be with us, his family, when he needed us the most.”