“Nan was made up when someone came and did her nails”

May Rogers was cared for at the Marie Curie Hospice, Liverpool in the last weeks of her life. Her granddaughter Rachelle, a supervisor at the WHSmith store in Widnes, recalls the support the family received and how donating pre-loved books as part of The Big Readcycle can really make a difference. 

“Probably one of my fondest memories of my nan is from my final year at Uni. The photo (above) is from when I graduated from (Liverpool) Hope University in 2009. My mum and dad were doing up my nan’s bathroom.

I’d go down on a Friday afternoon for a few hours and she’d make me dinner. She used to make the best bacon and cheese on toast ever, always baking for us and trying to feed us. Basically, she was a feeder, my nan.”

Little warrior

“They found she had cancer on her lung. What was amazing was that they found she still had 70% of her lung capacity, which is incredible for an 87-year-old.

She has always been a little warrior and was a warrior to the end. She didn’t like being in hospital. But as soon as she got to the Marie Curie Hospice, she was a lot more comfortable.

The nurses were wonderful. She was really happy with how nice everyone was. She was made up when someone came and did her nails. She’d get a glass of Baileys in the evenings – stuff like that.

It was the homely touches that made a difference. And the fact the nurses were constantly reassuring us, telling us to ring them if we wanted to know how Nan was.”

Giving comfort

“On her last day, we had the phone call at 7am to say that Nan's breathing changed and it would be soon. We were all at Marie Curie within half an hour and we all sat with my Nan. Without prompt, the nurses brought us in tea, coffee, sandwiches, crisps and set up a family room for us to take turns in getting some sleep. They were looking after us as well.

At 12.35am, Nan passed away, quietly in her sleep surrounded by her three children, my dad, my uncle and my aunty.”

How you can help

“I can't thank Marie Curie enough for everything they did. Losing my Nanny May was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to go through, and I’ve missed her a ridiculous amount.

“Money raised from book donations during The Big Readcycle makes a massive difference to people living with terminal illness. Nan found comfort at the Marie Curie Hospice.

The care and attention that they give to patients is really, really important. The nurses are amazing – I didn’t realise they looked after the family as well as the patients. That was one of the most important things to us. And it’s why it’s so important that we all help to raise funds for them.”

Help people like May get the care they need at the end of life. Donate books you no longer need at WHSmith high street stores until August 31 as part of The Big Readcycle – and receive a voucher for 25% off your next book purchase.