I’m supporting the Great Daffodil Appeal so Marie Curie can care for someone as they cared for my partner Josephine

by Billy Gold
Marie Curie supporter

Marie Curie supporter Billy Gold holding a box of daffodil pins
Photo credit: Kieran Dodds

I’ll be supporting the Great Daffodil Appeal 2015 by selling daffodil pins and organising raffles at my Glasgow pub, The Hielan Jessie.

My reasons for supporting Marie Curie are deeply personal – the Marie Curie Hospice, Glasgow, cared for Josephine, my beloved partner of 25 years, at the end of her life.

Josephine was a wonderful person and it feels all the harder that someone who was so full of life is no longer here.

The kindness and practical help we received from the hospice will never be forgotten and I will raise money for Marie Curie for as long as I can.

From hospital to the hospice

Josephine was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July 2013, and we were told it was advanced and untreatable. Getting the news was just unbelievable and I still find it very hard to think about that moment.

She went downhill quickly and was admitted to hospital. The staff there did their best but it just wasn’t set up to care for somebody like her. So I fought to get Josephine into the Marie Curie Hospice and she was transferred there on a Friday, arriving at lunchtime.

Calm and serene

The atmosphere at the hospice was calm and serene. I spent more time talking to a doctor on that day than I had done the whole time she had been at the hospital.

She had a single room with a large TV and comfortable chairs; and doors which opened on to decking. The room had another bed in it, so I could stay with her.

Josephine was cared for so well at the hospice. And I didn’t realise it at the time but they looked after me as well.

Surrounded by family and friends

In the early hours of Saturday morning, Josephine was very restless. The nurse said it would be a good time for me to phone her friends and family.

Josephine passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning, surrounded by people who loved her.

At that terrible time, the hospice staff looked after us. They put us all in a wee quiet room, with some cups of tea. Then they took me back in to her room. They’d made the room look nice and Josephine look really beautiful. They’d done her hair, which would have meant an awful lot to her.

They gave us some time for personal and religious reflection and Josephine’s sisters were able to do a Rosary for her. The staff were so kind to us all.

Marie Curie have been a tremendous help to me personally. I still go and see them for counselling – the continued support is absolutely fantastic.

Ongoing fundraising

Josephine was very well liked among the pub’s staff and customers. And since she passed away, my friends and the pub’s customers have helped to raise around £4,000 for Marie Curie.

We’re raising money in Josephine’s memory, as she would have wanted. It’s her legacy and I also have a debt of gratitude. I feel it’s the least I can do.

I think about how someone, somewhere raised money to pay for Josephine’s care, and the Great Daffodil Appeal gives us the opportunity to do the same.

So please sign up to collect, donate for a daffodil in March, make a donation. Do something and do it now.