Marie Curie Nurses helped terminally ill couple enjoy family Christmas

Nin and Don together smiling

When Sue’s parents were both diagnosed with terminal cancer, Sue wanted them to spend their last Christmas together in her home. Marie Curie Nurses made her wish possible.
Sue’s parents, Nin and Don, had been married for 59 years. In May 2009, the family was devastated when Nin was diagnosed with lung cancer. Sue initially cared for her mum at home but, in November, Nin took a turn for the worse. Sue was told she had only a few days to live. Sue and her sister Julie didn’t want their mum to die in hospital, so she was admitted to Keech Hospice in Bedford as a day patient. The following day, the family received some more devastating news: Don was admitted to hospital in Bedford and was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer.

Care over Christmas

With Christmas just round the corner, Sue wanted to bring both parents home. She wasn’t sure how she could manage this, until the hospice told her about Marie Curie Nurses. Nin came home on 15 December and Don on 21, December. Both needed round the clock care, which was tough, especially in the run up to Christmas. Having a Marie Curie Nurse there at night meant Sue and Julie could get some much-needed sleep. Knowing the nurses were there, and would wake the family if they were needed, was a massive relief. Sue felt confident her parents were receiving the best possible care. Sue said: “One nurse in particular, who I just will never be able to thank enough, is called Maureen. She actually came on Christmas Day – a day when everybody is supposedly with their families. She actually gave that up and she was with us on Christmas night.”

Last Christmas together

On Christmas Day, 19 members of the family sat down for lunch together. With Maureen’s support, Don and Nin were able to spend their last Christmas together as husband and wife, surrounded by their loved ones. “Obviously it was the last one and we all knew that at heart, but it was really special for them to be there,” said Sue. Nin passed away on 25 January 2010. Sadly, after her death, Don’s condition quickly deteriorated and he died three weeks later on 18 February.

Generous gift

According to Sue, the Marie Curie Nurses were “fantastic. They took the load. When they were there, it felt like an enormous weight had been lifted”. She said: “I think the most generous gift that anybody could give is to do what these nurses do, and they can only do it with the support of us, the general public. They can’t do it without us.” Read more about what Marie Curie Nurses do