Finn Dillon is dedicating a light in memory of mum, Philly, who sadly passed away this year

13th October 2023

A young man and a women, sat on a sofa, within their home. Being held by the man is a picture of a woman, his mother.

“This Christmas will be the first without my mother, Philippa (Philly), but it warms my heart to know that we can still celebrate Philly’s life thanks to Light up a Life and one of the symbolic lights will be shining brightly for her.”

At an otherwise happy period in our lives, Philly’s first diagnosis of Stage 3 Breast Cancer came in 2009, when I was only 10 years old. It was a devastating diagnosis for the entire family. Philly underwent surgery which was followed by intense rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, all of which she endured with determination and hope. That same year I remember watching the St Barnabas Torchlight Procession and seeing the people travel past where we lived in Lincoln’s Bailgate. Although as a young boy, I had no idea what a huge impact St Barnabas would have on our family in the future.

Unfortunately, a few years later, the cancer returned in her liver and Philly began more treatment. Amazingly, the cancer began to shrink. As a family it felt like we had received a second miracle. Philly was grateful for every day she had and would remind me that every day she got to see me grow past the age of 10, was a miracle.

Sadly, Philly’s cancer returned for a third time in 2020 and had spread into her spine and bones. In March 2023, she was admitted to St Barnabas Hospice in Grantham. Although it was incredibly scary and upsetting for us all, the change we felt as we walked through the doors to St Barnabas was incredible. We knew that she was finally safe. Philly was moved to the St Barnabas Inpatient Unit in Lincoln, only a few streets away from our family home.

The incredible care of St Barnabas allowed us one last miracle period and we will be forever grateful. The warmth and sincerity the team showed us is something I know we all take comfort from every day. Although visiting was tough, no matter what we were walking into, or the guilt we would often feel when walking away – she was safe. Her final month with us at St Barnabas, provided endless moments of laughter, deep reflection, and the incredible gift of goodbye.

I am comforted to know many people taking part in Light Up a Life may have had similar experiences to myself and my family, and we are joined together by an understanding of the incredible work St Barnabas do. I invite you to join me to Light up a Life this Christmas.

This Christmas, please join me in remembering your loved ones in a celebration of light. I am inviting you to dedicate your light for a loved one so they can shine brightly on St Barnabas Hospice’s beautiful Tree of Life outside Lincoln Cathedral. A donation of just £39.86 would be able to cover the cost for a St Barnabas nurse to care for a patient in their own home for two hours.

You can remember anyone with a light, not just those cared for by the Hospice. As a thank you and token for your loved one, St Barnabas will send you a personalised card and special tree decoration in the post. You will also be invited to attend the Torchlight Procession on the 21st of November.

Your donation for a light could pay for more people like Philly to receive specialist end-of-life care during the most difficult of times.

I know that remembering our loved ones with a light will help lift some of that apprehension that we are all feeling about spending Christmas without them.

Thank you, Finn.

St Barnabas Hospice supporter  

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