A BROTHER and sister receiving support following a diagnosis of Huntington’s Disease, and a woman whose daughter and husband died within a few months of each other, have come together to help ice over 3,000 cakes being given away to celebrate a charity’s 40th birthday.
Siblings Fraser and Chelsea Higgins – both from Ilkeston – attend the Huntington’s Disease Support Group at Treetops Hospice. Thirty-one-year-old Fraser is living with the disease and his sister, Chelsea, is one of his carers.
They joined patients, counselling clients, volunteers and staff in prepping special muffins that, along with the cakes, will be distributed to those visiting Treetops 19 charity shops across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire later this week.
Cakes will also be delivered to Treetops Hospice supporters, including Derby County Community Trust, Derbion, Ron Brooks Toyota, Gillotts Funeral Directors, Nelson’s Solicitors, and staff at Aldercar Infant and Nursery School who took part in the Reindeer Dash fundraising event.
Fraser said: “I don’t always like going to new places, but if I know I’m coming here it makes me want to leave the house. I can be myself here and I know that no-one is judging me, so I can relax.”
Chelsea (36) added: “As Fraser’s carer, I know that we can come here, have a cup of tea, get information and we’re not scared to ask questions. We have found out about other things that can help us as a family, too.”
Also taking part in the cake icing was Rosemary Wright (79).
She attended bereavement counselling at the Derbyshire end-of-life charity based in Risley, following the unexpected deaths of her daughter Deb, 52, and husband Ken.
Deb had developed earache and when a course of antibiotics didn’t work, a trip to A&E revealed the devastating diagnosis of oesophageal cancer.
Rosemary, from Chester Green, said: “From her initial diagnosis, we had six weeks with Deb. It was such a shock as she was so fit and healthy.”
Rosemary’s husband Ken never recovered from their loss.
“Ken had a heart problem and went downhill after Deb died. He never really got over it and ended up not wanting to live which was hard to take. We’d been together for 60 years.
“I’d never had counselling before, so I was a bit wary. But my counsellor, Ian, was a very caring and kind person and drew things out of me.
“He helped me realise I hadn’t really had time to grieve myself, that it was put on hold. Without counselling, I think I would have just muddled through and carried on as best as I could.”
All three are grateful for the help and support they have received from Treetops Hospice, which is giving away the cakes as a ‘thank you’ to the local community. They will be distributed by their charity shops across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire on Thursday.
Treetops cook, Fiona Palmer, has been working around the clock to create the tasty homemade treats, which include gingerbread, flapjacks, lemon drizzle, and a blueberry and lemon loaf cake.
The 250 iced muffins will feature an edible cake topper emblazoned with a specially-commissioned Treetops Hospice 40th birthday logo. The charity received the muffins as a donation from Bidfood Nottingham.
“This is our way of thanking the local community for helping Treetops Hospice to reach this amazing milestone,” said Julie Heath, chief executive of Treetops Hospice, who also took part in the cake decorating and who will help deliver them to shops later this week.
“We’re really proud to have cared for thousands of patients and their loved ones at the most challenging time of their lives since the charity began.
“Our care has changed such a lot over the last 40 years. Now, more than ever, patients are choosing to receive our care in the comfort of their own home.
“We’re also taking our support and information out into the local community to make it even more accessible.
“This wouldn’t be possible, though, without the hard work and dedication of our staff and our volunteers who help across the whole hospice and out in our charity shops, and our wonderful supporters.
“Without them all, we just wouldn’t be the charity we are today.”
For further information about Treetops services visit www.treetops.org.uk/40
Photo caption: Patients and counselling clients join staff and volunteers to help decorate hospice 40th birthday cakes
About Treetops Hospice
Treetops Hospice, the leading end-of-life care charity in Derby, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, provides nursing care and emotional support for adults with life-limiting conditions, and their families.
The charity provides support from diagnosis onwards for patients with conditions such as cancer, motor neurone disease and heart and respiratory conditions.
This year, we are very proud to be celebrating 40 years of caring for people and their families in our local community. During this time, we have supported thousands of patients with end-of-life nursing care and bereavement counselling.
We have achieved this amazing milestone thanks to our dedicated volunteers who help across the whole hospice and in our charity shops, our hard-working staff team, and our supporters, past and present.
Last year, our team of Hospice at Home nurses provided over 20,000 hours of care to terminally-ill patients, working day and night to give much-needed support.
Our team of bereavement counsellors provided over 4,500 counselling sessions – more than 900 of them to children and young people. Wellbeing team members provide valuable information and support to those who need it.
Treetops is doing all it can to continue to support those in most need and welcomes donations to ensure the future of the hospice and its services: www.treetopshospice.org.uk/donate
A counselling session for a bereaved child costs £34.50. An overnight Hospice at Home nursing shift for a patient at the end of life costs £108.
Treetops Hospice, Derby Road, Risley, Derbyshire, DE72 3SS
0115 949 1264 | www.treetopshospice.org.uk
Registered Charity Number 519540