Big Readcycle – don’t miss your last chance to donate!

We’ve now received nearly 20,000 donations to the Big Readcycle, our fantastic partnership with WHSmith. But with only days of readcycling left, we need your help to donate even more books which will then be sold in Marie Curie shops to raise money for people living with terminal illness, and their families.

So, if you’re not already among those enjoying the benefits of a tidier literary collection, there’s still time to get involved. All you have to do is donate your pre-loved books at WHSmith high street stores and Marie Curie shops and in exchange you’ll receive a 25% discount voucher that can be spent on shiny new books at WHSmith.

Fiona (first on the right) and her mother Chrissie (second from the left)

Fiona’s story

Books often have a way of bringing comfort to people and especially when times are hard. Fiona Brown, 34, from Cambuslang near Glasgow began supporting Marie Curie after our nurses cared for her mother, Chrissie, during the final stages of pancreatic cancer in 2003. Fiona recalls her mother’s love of reading and how the care she received from Marie Curie Nurses meant that she could spend her final days at home.

"Mum was a rock of support for all our family. She was an intensive care nursing sister at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where she worked part time. She was also a great mum – she gave a lot of support to the family – my dad and brother used to race karts and cars and we had a family business in motorsport.

"Mum loved to read and always had lots of books in the house. She loved it when new books arrived. She liked that certain smell new books have about them. You would always see a wee glow in her face when she got a delivery of books or shopped in book stores. I have fond memories of going to WHSmith in Argyle Street, Glasgow with her – their books department was in the downstairs part of the store and we’d spend many shopping trips in there.

"I think we had Marie Curie for about a week before she died. Having that comfort in the evenings from the Marie Curie Nurses, who sat with Mum and were in her room while we got some rest, made a huge difference. It was good knowing somebody was there with her.

"The key thing for me was the fact that she was able to be at home. We had moved her bedroom so she was in the back of the house. It was really nice for her to have the curtains open while she was in bed, looking out at the garden which she had spent many, many years working on, to get it just the way she wanted.

"We were really grateful that we were able to have Mum at home with us, so she could be surrounded by the people and things she loved – her home, her garden and her books.

"My mum was a very proud lady. Being at home also gave her more control over things like people visiting. If she was sleeping, and someone came to the door, we would be honest and say it wasn’t convenient. If people make an effort to visit you in hospital, you feel obliged to perk up and try and make conversation. Being at home gave her more relaxation.

"I remember the night she passed away. I had been sleeping and the Marie Curie Nurse came and told us that her breathing had changed. I was able to get my brother and my dad and go and sit with her. If that time happens in hospital, and you’re not there, you could miss the person passing.

"Also, if you’re in a hospital environment, once the person has passed away, you then have to go into a waiting room. Just having a Marie Curie Nurse there was a comfort, as they knew what to do. They were in control and were always very, very professional. And it made a difference to see my mum so peaceful in her own bed.

"After she passed away she was just so beautiful – she looked young, relaxed and at peace – it was incredible. Our hearts were so heavy but it was like a big weight had been lifted from her. A few family members were able to come and see mum at peace before a private ambulance took her away. This brought some comfort to some of our family."