"The support which both my parents received from St Barnabas was simply amazing. Mum always said the staff were angels, and she felt very safe in their care. Nothing was ever too much trouble, and I’m so proud to work alongside such caring and dedicated colleagues."

“Mum is such an inspiration to me, and I get all my strength from her”

Caroline Swindin, Corporate Fundraiser for St Barnabas Hospice, is joining thousands of people around Lincolnshire in remembering someone they will never forget. For Caroline, this special person is her mum.

Caroline’s mum, Sylvia Boardman, sadly died on 11th August 2015, age 72, from bone cancer in her spine and related issues.

Caroline said, “When Mum was diagnosed, age 62, I was with her in hospital. She reacted like I knew she would – remaining positive and determined to keep going regardless of her situation. She received treatment for around eight years, and attended a lot of the St Barnabas events which I organise as part of my job.”

Sylvia has five grandchildren – two boys by her daughter, Caroline, as well as two boys and a girl by her daughter, Sonya.

“Mum was always close to the grandchildren, and made sure to keep up her routine of picking them up from school once a week. I honestly believe that they kept her going. Even a month before her death, Mum made sure to attend the year six leavers’ concert for my youngest son, Adam. Everyone was astonished that she achieved this, being so unwell, but I know my Mum and she would not have missed it for the world.”

Sylvia didn’t initially realise how she could benefit from St Barnabas’ services, until Caroline took her for a cup of coffee at the Lincoln Day Therapy Centre one day. She then spent much time using their services – particularly enjoying the head massage and complimentary therapies. Once Sylvia began to face the last couple of months of her life, she spent 7.5 weeks at the Lincoln Inpatient Unit, and a further 3.5 weeks being treated at home by the Hospice at Home team. Sylvia’s husband, Cliff, also benefitted from visiting the Day Therapy Centre, as it enabled him to talk about his wife’s condition and also receive some welcome support.

Caroline said, “The support which both my parents received from St Barnabas was simply amazing. Mum always said the staff were angels, and she felt very safe in their care. Nothing was ever too much trouble, and I’m so proud to work alongside such caring and dedicated colleagues.”

As we enter the festive period, it can be a difficult time for some families, and one of reflection and remembrance.

When thinking back on fond memories, Caroline recalls, “Every year at Christmas, I’d go round to Mum’s house and we would wrap all the presents. I don’t remember a year when we didn’t decorate the tree together, and she always made sure to hang some special chocolates with her grandsons.

“To remember Mum, I always buy a Christmas candle which we light for her, and a special decoration so that she is always with us.”

Caroline has been heavily involved in fundraising for the Hospice, and this year has taken on 35 challenges to celebrate its 35th birthday. From cycling London to Paris, to trying 35 flavours of ice cream and even wearing 35 items of clothing, Caroline has pushed the boat out for hospice care.

When asked what her mum would think about all her fundraising, Caroline said, “She would be extremely supportive and proud, and I know that if she were still here she would have attended every single challenge with me in support.

“I want to continue doing as much as I can for such a wonderful charity, and Mum is such an inspiration for doing this. I get all my strength from her.”

If you would like to dedicate a light in memory of someone you will never forget, just like Caroline is doing for her mum, please visit www.stbarnabashospice.co.uk/LUAL

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