Acclaimed actor Anita Reeves died peacefully, surrounded by family at their Dublin home earlier this month. Mr Erskine paid tribute to hospice for helping the family during her final days during a 24 hour Irish DanceAthon to raise funds for The Irish Hospice Foundation.
Speaking on RTE1 Radio’s Drivetime, Mr Erskine said: “Unfortunately I lost my wife two weeks ago today. The hospice were with us for the later days of her journey and they were just fantastic.
“We had decided to support the hospice this year, long before any of this situation arose. So it makes it all the more poignant to be here today helping them because they certainly helped me. And someone is looking down on us today because there was talk of rain but it is gorgeous.”
The Riverdance troupe DanceAthon kicked off outside Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre at noon on Thursday, 21 July. It finished 24 hours later.
Mr Erskine said Riverdance thought the dance marathon was a “worthy way of expressing” gratitude for the 24/7 work of the Irish Hospice Foundation.
More than 500 families receive support each year to care for their dying loved ones at home through the IHF’s Nurses for Night Care Service.
The service relies completely on voluntary donations from the public. Nurses for Night Care Service gives more people the option to be cared for in their final days and die at home. The nurses stay in the home throughout the night, providing nursing care, practical help and reassurance to both patient and family
The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year carries out an extensive programme in all matters relating to dying, death and bereavement. It receives no core funding from the State.
Its vision is that no one should face death or bereavement without the care and support they need. Its mission is to achieve dignity, comfort and choice for all people facing the end of life. . About 400 families are supported annually through the IHF’s Children’s Palliative Care programme. End-of-life care is continually being improved in 42 acute hospitals across the country through the IHF’s Hospice Friendly Hospitals programme. About 3,000 healthcare professionals take part in IHF education and training programmes every year. The IHF funds pioneering research on end-of-life and palliative care issues. The IHF encourages people to talk, think ahead and plan for end-of-life through its Think Ahead programme.
Riverdance which is composed by Bill Whelan and directed by John McColgan and Moya Doherty is celebrating its 21st birthday this summer.
It is currently running at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin. The worldwide phenomenon began its journey as the interval act in the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, produced for television by Moya Doherty. This electrifying and innovative seven minute dance piece was then developed into a full-length stage show by Producer Moya Doherty, Composer Bill Whelan and Director John McColgan. With its fusion of Irish and International music and dance, the show broke all box office records during its world première run in Dublin and has continued to set new records in packed theatres and arenas throughout the world. www.riverdance.com