Sarah, Gemma and their Nana

“We’re walking in memory of Nana to say thank you to the thoughtful nurses at St Barnabas.”

Sisters, Sarah McCaffrey (36) and Gemma Theobald (34), are taking part in the St Barnabas Hospice Moonlight Walk this Saturday in memory of their Nana, Sheila Dickenson.

Two sisters from Lincoln, Sarah and Gemma, are walking the 10k Moonlight Walk on Saturday 8th June to raise money for St Barnabas Hospice. The Hospice cared for their Nana, Sheila, for seven days in February 2014.

Although her stay with St Barnabas was a short one, Sarah, who works for Lincolnshire Police, describes how the care her Nana received could not have been better:

“We were allowed to make Nana’s room lovely for her and when she started her decline, the hospice staff were so knowledgeable in telling us what was happening. Nana started to become unresponsive due to her lack of oxygen but the nurses were able to tell us that she could still hear us and we should just talk to her as normal.

“As I left one day I gave her a kiss on the head and she made a noise and gave a little smile. I’ll never forget that. The nurses also let my sister go to sleep in her room on nights when she couldn’t settle for bedtime.”

Sheila sadly died on 7th February 2014 from heart failure, after being diagnosed on 22nd January 2014. She had end-of-life care at the St Barnabas Inpatient Unit in Lincoln. Sarah said:

“I’m walking in memory of Nana who, before she retired, was a nurse at St George’s Hospital in Lincoln. She looked after so many people throughout her life so it was comforting to know that when she was in her final days there were people to look after her personally. Staying at home wasn’t an option as my Grandpa wasn’t well enough to be able to give her what she needed.

“My nana was such a helpful person; she would do anything for anyone if she could. Once she retired she volunteered as a visitor to the elderly who lived alone so they had a friendly face and a chat once a week.”

The care and support that St Barnabas provided to both Sheila and her family inspired Sarah’s sister, Gemma, to volunteer for the Hospice. This volunteering work made Gemma realise that she wanted to change her career path from retail to care. She now does house calls to the elderly, just like her Nana. Sarah said:

“A memory that stands out is the night Nana died when the St Barnabas nurses lit a candle for her and sat with us. Although two patients died that night, the nurses made sure both families had separate candles and enough support to get us through the difficult time.”

St Barnabas will be setting up a ‘Memories in the Moonlight’ tent on Saturday evening where supporters can sit and record video messages about the special people they are walking in memory of. The Hospice is inviting participants to share their memories, just like Sarah and Gemma have.

It’s not too late to sign up to this year’s Moonlight Walk. Come to Bishop Grosseteste University on Saturday 8th June for 8pm and you can sign up on the night for only £20! The Hospice welcomes males, females and even dogs. All they ask is that everyone participating is aged 11 or older.

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