Kia ora, my name is Rosie. My journey with Totara Hospice began at 11 years-old, when it felt like my whole world came tumbling down – the day I found out my Nana had lung cancer.
Nana and Grandad lived next door, and if you couldn’t find me at my house, I’d be at theirs. We would bake, play cards, have makeovers and sleepovers. For me, Nana was my very best friend. She was such an incredible lady.
When Nana’s illness happened, I knew I wanted to make the most of every second with her. But even with Grandad caring for her night and day, things were pretty tough.
“I just don’t know what I would have done without Hospice,” says Grandad Ron. “Their Community Nurses were just terrific – they were always dropping in to help out, reviewing Anita’s medication to help her feel more at ease - nothing was too much trouble.”
This Christmas we are asking you, our community to donate to help keep the Hospice Community Nurses on the road, caring for people like my Nana. By donating you are gifting more time, memories and comfort to the terminally ill – and their whānau.
It’s even more pressing this Christmas with the financial impact of Covid-19, additionally we have seen a staggering 25% increase in demand for our Hospice services in the community.
The last Christmas with Nana was very special and memorable for our family, as Grandad Ron recalls: “Christmas Day came around and Anita nearly didn’t have Christmas at home. She wasn’t good that morning, but by lunchtime we said – let’s just do it, and we had the family around for Christmas on our deck. Anita was great, she ate well and spent time with our children, grandkids and great grandchildren.”
It was a wonderful Christmas we are so thankful for.
Grandad Ron reflected, “After Christmas Dr Eileen Brosnan asked me how Christmas was – and I said actually it was good, Anita ate well and it was great. Dr Eileen said well that’s great because Ron, she won’t see another one, in fact she won’t see Easter.”
As she became more ill, I would spend every afternoon after school with her too. Then when Nana’s health started to deteriorate further we were there every night. “See ya later Rosie” those were the last words she whispered to me as I was going home that Wednesday night.
Dr Eileen was right, on 24th March, Nana gained her wings.
At 11 years-old, like most people, I thought a hospice was just a place ‘where you go to die’. But it is actually a really special place, full of amazing people offering comfort, dignity, compassion love and care.
Hospice had a profound impact on me personally. At 15 I was the first Youth Ambassador to volunteer for Totara Hospice. I now write to you as a fundraiser to help ensure that others will get to see their Nana supported with dignity and honour - as a person, not just a patient. And get to whisper special words to their loved ones on their last night.
The last Christmas I had with my Nana was the most special day ever. This Christmas, if you choose to donate your kind gift will go to ensuring other Kiwi families have that same opportunity. It could mean the world to another 11 year old girl out there. Thank you so much. You can visit www.hospice.co.nz/rememberingnana2 to donate.
Fundraising, Grants and Events Assistant - Totara Hospice