Gail’s Story

Gail's Story

Gail passed away in February 2024 after spending 13 weeks at the hospice. Her Daughter, Madison, bravely shares her experience alongside Stepdad, Kieron.

Mum was always so positive. From the moment she was diagnosed, firstly with kidney cancer and then cervical cancer, she never felt sorry herself and just continued – as she always had – to do everything for us. Going into the hospice was the one thing she was adamant that she didn’t want. The word ‘hospice’ to mum, like for so many people, conjured up all sorts of gloomy images, but we all soon saw this isn’t the case.

The ups and downs

It felt like we’d endured a lifetime of ups and downs with mum’s diagnosis. She’d experienced terribly long spells of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, alongside immunotherapy, and a wide concoction of medication, through which her pain was never controlled. It wasn’t easy. It was never easy. Mum was admitted to the hospice in November 2023 following a referral through the hospital. Her first two days were awful – she seemed to go downhill rapidly, and we were prepared for the worst. But then, we were introduced to Dr Murray.

Dr Murray took the time to listen to us, after feeling like we hadn’t been listened to for years. She understood mum and understood that her pain was complex. Her confidence in putting mum on new medication and the control she took over her pain relief was something that we hadn’t experienced before. We finally felt reassured and confident that bringing her into the hospice was the best decision for mum. And mum now knew this as well.

Her new medication took effect almost immediately. She woke up a completely different person and back to her usual self. She was positive and it appeared that all the worry she felt over coming into the hospice was alleviated.

This was a turning point for all of us, as a family. We took more pictures, more videos. Mum even did a daily update video to her nearest and dearest and sent it to us in a group message. These are things we now cherish, only made possible thanks to the knowledge, understanding and compassion of the nurses and doctors at the hospice.

Christmas with mum

Our goal was to get mum home for Christmas. Everything the hospice team did to make it happen was brilliant. It simply wouldn’t have been possible anywhere else. From the alterations to mum’s medication leading up to Christmas, to the medication they supplied and explained to us ahead of her coming home on Christmas Eve, to everything they did during her time at home – it was like they couldn’t do enough for us.

We took mum home at teatime on Christmas Eve. It was so special and meant everything that she was able to spend her last Christmas in her own home, with all of us – including her two boys, Patrick and Cameron, Cameron’s girlfriend, Kim, and her one-year-old grandson, Brodie – it was just special.

Her last couple of weeks

Even through we knew what was happening – we knew mum’s life was coming to an end – we got comfort out of knowing that she was comfortable and peaceful in her final weeks. We made memories that we thought never possible, like taking mum out of the hospice to Brodie’s birthday party just a couple of days before she passed away, or enjoying a chippy tea as a family, comforted by mum being safe in the hospice. These precious moments would have been taken away had mum not been under the care of the hospice.


Watching your mum or your partner die is traumatic. There is no other way to describe it. Mum’s death was the first we’d ever witnessed, and we would never sugarcoat it and say that being at the hospice made it easy, it didn’t. But it helped. Our relationship with the team helped. All we were looking for at that time was honesty, openness, and reassurance from the hospice, and that’s exactly what we got.

Suzie, one of the nurses was there with us every step of the way. From the day mum went in, to the evening she passed away, on her partner Kieron and son Patrick’s birthday – Suzie was that constant throughout mum’s care. We think that mum knew she was there on her final night, and that’s what helped to comfort her and let her know that she was ready. She was so important to us throughout mum’s entire time at the hospice but particularly that night. We can’t thank her enough.

If mum was at home, going through everything that she went through, without the support of the hospice, it doesn’t even bear thinking about.

Even though mum was only there for just over three months, it felt like a huge part of our lives. We built a strong relationship with the nurses and were able to create memories and have a laugh and joke, despite the circumstances.

Some people ask if we’re fazed by coming back to visit the hospice but that couldn’t be further from the truth for us. We have so many special memories that make it a lovely place to come back to. It was everything that mum needed and made her end of life so much better.



Gail’s family have gone on to raise more than £1,500 for the hospice in her memory. Kieron and Gail’s 13-year-old nephew ran the Wigan 5k in March, with a time of 22 minutes, raising over £600 for his Aunty Gail.