Hospice’s respect for family beliefs inspired fundraising

Categories: Community Engagement.

Carol Kay, wife to Jack and mother of two, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 2006, and despite bravely fighting the disease, eventually lost her battle, aged 54, in December last year. 

Jack, an observant Jew, said: “Carol’s last month was spent in the Duchess of Kent House Hospice in Reading, where she received outstanding care, above and beyond what we could have hoped for. In the year before, she had attended day therapy sessions at the hospice and even spent a week there whilst attempts were made to help improve her pain relief treatment.

“In the hospice she was treated with more care, love and respect than we could ever have expected. 

“One example typifies the respect given. Carol was rushed from the hospice to the local hospital by ambulance early on a Friday morning but nothing more could be done for her. Unfortunately, no ambulance could be found in the local healthcare system to return her to the hospice. When the hospice director heard of this he arranged for a private ambulance at his expense without consulting us so that Carol would be back in the hospice before Shabbat, as he knew us to be observant Jews. 

“This love and respect in an increasingly secular society is very special and meant a great deal to us.”

Jack has now thrown himself into fundraising for Duchess of Kent Hospice and raised more than £35,000 by organising a Hair for Hospices Day in August, during which he shaved off his 38-year-old beard and encouraged others to do something to their hair to raise funds. 

Jack’s local orthodox Rabbi got involved with the event, as did the Bishop of Reading and the Chair of Reading Muslim Council, as well as Jack’s own friends, family and colleagues from all over the world.  

As well as the funds raised for the Duchess of Kent House hospice, more than £20,000 has been raised to date – with more still to be collected – for hospices around the UK.

You can follow Jack’s Hair for Hospices campaign in Carol’s memory and perhaps you might want to join in the event being planned for 2013.

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