The month of March was Marie Curie's Great Daffodil Appeal and it held its Day of Reflection on the 23rd March 2023.
I had the privilege of visiting the Marie Curie Hospice in Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow. It was an honour to meet the hard working staff that have created a welcoming place for all, and some of the patients receiving palliative care.
I was extremely touched by their stories and the openness with which they shared their journeys. Cancer will touch all our lives at some point but giving people the dignity they deserve at the end of their lives is so important. Marie Curie do this with kindness, compassion and grace.
I got to show my support to the Great Daffodil Appeal at an event held in the Scottish Parliament. I also got to hear Hayley's story.
Hayley Smith, whose husband Matt was cared for by Marie Curie Nursing Service at home, before being admitted to Marie Curie Hospice, Edinburgh, and spoke at the event.
Hayley said: I'd gone a whole year of Matt being very ill with no support. I was basically his full-time carer, had to shower him and everything, and was doing all the cooking, all the cleaning, still working in between. I had absolutely no support.
“But in July 2021, Marie Curie stepped in and I went from having zero support to having all the help I needed. The Nurses who came to the house were fantastic. Just coming in in the morning, giving Matt a bath, enabling me to have some respite. I know people think they can do it on their own, but in reality it’s not sustainable – both mentally or physically. “The Marie Curie Nurses and Healthcare Assistants really helped Matt keep his dignity. He had the 7-day service for a week before we got a call saying that there was a bed available at the Marie Curie hospice in Edinburgh. “I work for a hospice charity, and I think for a lot of people they don't really understand how amazing hospices are, but for me I knew Matt was going to be really well looked after there. It also meant I just knew when he was in the hospice I could actually go and spend time with him as him, not caring for him, which was so important.”
On 16 March 2023 I spoke on a motion in the chamber at the Scottish Parliament:
Amy Dalrymple, Associate Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Marie Curie, Scotland, said:
“Thank you to Paul for his ongoing support.
“Seeing and hearing first-hand stories of how living with a terminal illness and caring for someone is a sad reminder that many of us have and will encounter Marie Curie at some point in our lives.
“We know that by 2040, a further 10,000 people will be dying with palliative care needs. We need to ensure Marie Curie Nurses will be able to be there for everyone across Scotland who needs them, which is why buying a daffodil pin in March, can help make this possible”.