September 2018

Dear Friend,

There’s no getting away from it. Facing your own mortality is tough. I’ve had to do that recently and it brought me to a dark place.

But when hospice care came into my life, a new positive world opened up. I’ve seen both the absolute need – and the incredible benefits – for people facing chronic illness and end of life. That’s why I’m making this very important appeal to you in my name.

So, thank you for reading this – it means a lot to me.

I don’t know if I can ever find the words to do justice in describing how extraordinary hospice care is and why they so badly need your kindness and generosity. But I’ll do my best.

I should first tell you a little about myself. My name is Pat Holahan. In health terms, the odds are stacked against me. Firstly, I’m 68 years old. I have a number of cancers that will soon end my life. I have Multiple Myeloma in my blood which can cause intense bone pain. More recently, I got bowel cancer and I have lesions on my liver and lung.

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When your prognosis is as stark as mine, it’s hard to find hope. But that is what’s great about the Hospice. It takes away the fear, the anxiety, the desolation.

Hospice care turns everything on its head. Stress becomes calm. Pain becomes relief. Fatigue becomes energy. Death becomes life.

Ironic really, because when the Palliative Care Nurse suggested I should come here, I was shocked. I had always thought of the hospice as a place you go to die. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s actually a place for living. A place to thrive.
To find new meaning and purpose.

I can find the words to describe my illness and my feelings around life and death. But honestly, I’m lost for words, when it comes to properly describing the amazing care and attention and support the nurses and doctors give you.

They are experts. You will search the world before you find people who are better at caring for you medically at end of life.

Then there’s the human dimension – and I can only describe the people here as amazing – the nurses, the doctors, the therapists, the volunteers and all the workers. Caring for people at end of life must be one of the most difficult jobs in the world but they do it with such empathy, with a smile on their face, and understanding in their heart.

Then there’s the place itself, the building and facilities. It is truly a healing, life-affirming environment.

I can testify that during my time here, I’ve been able to avail of life-changing services – you couldn’t put a price on their value. I’ve had access to group and individual counselling, a range of therapies, medical consultations and checks, pain relief, solutions to chronic fatigue – and simple chats with some of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet.

But most of all, they’ve helped me emotionally and psychologically.

I never thought I’d hear myself say ‘I’m not afraid to die’. I’ve been through the mill over the last 8 years swinging from rock bottom to hope to elation – and then crashing down again. But now, because of the bright, loving and expert care I’ve received here in the hospice, my entire attitude has changed. I’m content and prepared. I’m living life to the full.

This is a precious gift they have given me.

So now, I’m asking you to give the same wonderful gift to the thousands of other patients like me who will need the hospice in the future – by supporting my Hospice Appeal.

Will you please help by being as generous as you possibly can? I know first-hand that every gift, modest or large, is hugely appreciated – and, most importantly, will be put to the very best use.

I’m realistic. Most likely, I won’t be around to see these improvements for myself but I’ll be so thrilled and fulfilled to know that – with your generosity and concern – we together raised the funds to achieve it!

Our hospices, through their amazing ethos, place us – all patients and families – firmly at the centre.

But I personally believe our hospices are a crucial asset for Ireland. They are the caring heart of our communities. So please, join me in supporting this wonderful cause.

Wishing the very best to you and yours,