Our hospice parties create memorable moments for patients and families

We love to throw a good party at the Marie Curie Hospice, Bradford. Getting together to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or christening creates magical moments that really lift our patients and live long in the memory of family members and loved ones.

Opening up the party box

Birthdays, in particular, are a great way to get families together, and we don’t need much excuse to break out the cake and party hats. Our day therapy programme lasts 10 to 12 weeks and we have a party for each patient who has a birthday during the programme as well as a celebration at the end.

We also have a party box in our in-patient unit. Staff and visitors donate items such as bunting and balloons and we open it up around twice a month to celebrate everything from St Patrick’s Day to anniversaries and christenings.

Going above and beyond

One of the most special celebrations we’ve had was a wedding that took place at the hospice. The patient was quite ill so the registrar came to the hospice and performed the ceremony in the conservatory in the in-patient unit. The nurses helped the patient dress while staff decorated the conservatory, filling the space with beautiful flowers. The chef did a buffet for all the guests.

The wedding was so beautiful and everyone at the hospice really pulled together to make it a success. Each team got involved, both clinical and non-clinical, with some staff even coming in on their day off to ensure we could take care of all our other patients while the wedding took place.

Making it easier for children

Celebrating birthdays and other important milestones can make a real difference to children with family members being cared for at the hospice.

One of our patients recently wanted to attend her grandson’s christening but was too ill to travel to the church. Instead we held the christening in our hospice chapel and threw a party for the family afterwards. We’ve also arranged a big family reunion and other occasions that can make it easier for children to visit the hospice.

Celebrating one last Christmas

Christmas can be hard for people living with a terminal illness and their families, and being able to celebrate “one last Christmas” together can mean the world to them. When Vicki Burton’s mother’s health deteriorated the family weren’t sure she would live to see Christmas.

Vicki says, “The hospice organised a family Christmas party for us on Sunday 8 December: they put a Christmas tree, a television and Wii console in the room. The staff and volunteers served a three-course silver service dinner. There were 15 of us there. It was amazing and Mum was on top form.”

Vicki’s mum passed away a few days later but Vicki says she’ll never forget the day the whole family was able to celebrate Christmas together one last time.

Read more about Marie Curie Hospices and how we help people achieve the best possible quality of life.