A dad whose wife spent her final days in St Giles Hospice is calling on people to get up and go orange for the charity’s Orange Week fundraiser.
Gareth Hine’s wife, Karen, aged 49, who had bowel cancer which had spread to her lymph nodes, died at St Giles in August 2021, following nine months of care from the hospice.
Now Gareth, aged 50, who has two sons, is urging people to join the colourful annual campaign at home, work or school to help raise funds to ensure that St Giles can continue providing care and support for local patients, and their families, living with a terminal illness.
During Orange Week, taking place between Monday, 25th April and Sunday, 1st May, everyone is invited to raise money by going orange for a day or even a whole week or by taking part in orange-themed activities to support the hospice.
Sales director Gareth said: “Orange Week is a fantastic idea which gives everyone a great way to get involved in raising funds for St Giles – whether they are individuals, local businesses, clubs or other organisations. This fun event is about pulling together as a community to celebrate and support this vital service for local people and I would encourage everybody to sign up and take part if they can.
“St Giles provides the sort of personal, specialised care that is remarkable. We should do everything we can to make sure that the hospice is here for other families just like ours in the future when they need it.”
Gareth, from Cannock, said that despite being initially reluctant to agree to hospice care, Karen immediately responded to the supportive environment at St Giles.
He added: “When Karen arrived at St Giles she was immediately given pain management support and it was just what she needed. We knew that she was getting the sort of care she wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else – it was truly unique and we were all so thankful. The staff are caring and go above and beyond the call of duty to support the families they look after.
“The nurses knew the family were all Aston Villa season ticket holders and they asked the club if they could do anything for the children. The kids were then presented with a Villa shirt signed by the team, which was so kind and thoughtful. My sons were over the moon and it is the little things like that which make things more bearable for them.
“At a time in her life when Karen felt she had nowhere else to turn we found St Giles and it made such a difference – it’s just an amazing place.”
Gareth and his sons received bereavement support from the hospice team during his wife’s final days to prepare them for their loss. Following her death, donations from Karen’s funeral went to St Giles and Karen’s brother, Stephen Smith, took part in Cycle Autumn in 2021 to thank St Giles for caring for his sister.
In total, the family have raised more than £5,000 to support the hospice.
Chloe Herbert, Head of Fundraising at St Giles, said: “The generosity of fundraisers like Gareth and his family – and the people who take part in events like Orange Week – makes a huge difference to the work that we can do, as it costs £850,000 every single month just to keep our services going.
“Whether you’re at home, work or school, getting involved with Orange Week couldn’t be simpler. You could get up and go orange for a day or week, rock your brightest orange outfit, throw an orange themed party, or bake some tasty orange treats – and you can request our fantastic free fundraising pack for further ideas.
“Just remember to donate to St Giles at the same time and share your pictures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn with the hashtag #OrangeWeek to share the fun.”
For further information, or to request your free fundraising pack, visit www.stgileshospice.com/orangeweek
PICTURE CAPTIONS: St Giles Hospice Nursing Associate Charlotte Webb and Senior IT Technician Paul Allen get into the spirit of Orange Week; Gareth Hine with his wife Karen.
St Giles Hospice is a registered charity offering high-quality specialist care free of charge for people living with diseases which are terminal or incurable as well as providing support for their families and carers.
Patients come from across the hospice’s catchment area, which ranges from Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Atherstone in the east, to Cannock in the west – and from Burton and Uttoxeter in the north, to Sutton Coldfield and Coleshill in the south.
Care is offered at the hospice’s centres in Whittington and Sutton Coldfield and in patients’ own homes across the region.
St Giles spends over £10 million a year providing its specialist services and with little more than a third of this funded by the Government, the registered charity relies heavily on donations and income generation from the local community.