Ellenor Christmas 2022 Web Banner 1920X480px (1)
Ellenor Christmas 2022 Web Banner 1920X480px (1)

Can you help ellenor be there for people like Yvonne and Trevor this Christmas?

My name is Trevor. I’m 73. I’m from Gravesend. And in July,
my world fell apart.

Yvonne, my wife of 37 years, passed away after losing a brave battle with cancer of the vulva. She was just 13 days’ shy of her 80th birthday.

Before she was diagnosed, we’d had big plans. I was about to retire; long weekends away and long days together beckoned. But quickly, Yvonne went from being bouncy and buoyant to bed-bound. She was in pain, all the time. Pain she strived to hide from friends and family, to spare the ones she loved most even a small share of her suffering. She was an amazing woman, my wife.

I stopped working to help take care of Yvonne at home. I sat with her. Read with her. Bathed her. And moved my bed downstairs so I could still sleep next to her.
Because although she was in and out of hospital, her wish always was to remain at home –to receive care in the place she felt most comfortable in.

I’d heard of ellenor, but mainly through its local charity shops. I didn’t know what it actually did or about hospice care. But when ellenor’s Adult Hospice @ Home team stepped in to care for Yvonne from our home, I got an insight into the depth of ellenor’s support. One I’ll never forget.

vonne’s nurses – Linda, Dani, and the Tinas (there were two) – were incredible. They managed all aspects of Yvonne’s condition. They controlled her symptoms; alleviated her excruciating pain. And, even when the deterioration of Yvonne’s health began to accelerate, they were ever-present in our lives. Calm. Considerate. Caring. Compassionate.

ellenor helped me, too. There were times when I felt, somehow, that I wasn’t doing enough for Yvonne. When I was worried, tired – already grieving for the world we’d built together. Linda and her team just knew what we were going through; the emotions we were feeling.

Anything we wanted to talk about or understand, they were there. Anything we needed, they could get it. A voice on the other end of the phone; a strong hug in our kitchen. 

In those months, they became like family to us.

When Yvonne’s pain intensified and it was clear she couldn’t fight much longer, she and I decided the best thing to do was to move her to the hospice. With the support of Linda’s team, we did. And it was there, one week later, that my cherished wife passed away.

I miss her every moment. Every day.

Now, Christmas is nearly here. And for me, it will be the first in almost four decades I’ll spend without my wonderful wife by my side. This December, her laughter and footsteps won’t reverberate through the house. But I can, at least, take solace in the dignity of her death. In the way ellenor treated Yvonne, in her final months, not as just a patient. But as family.

I still pop over to the hospice today, just to sit for an hour or two – or to have a cup of coffee and cake with one of the team. Knowing they were there for Yvonne helps me. Knowing they’re still there – looking after people at the end of their lives – helps too.  So this Christmas, please remember ellenor, and the extraordinary lengths its team goes to for North Kent and Bexley families.

They can only do it because of your generosity. So please give what you can. And help ensure ellenor can continue to be there for families navigating the most difficult, devastating days they’ll ever face.

I thank you. And, with all my heart, I know Yvonne would have, too.

Trevor Gilchrist

Linda's Story: Supporting people like Trevor at Christmas


I’m Linda, Senior Clinical Nurse Specialist. I work in ellenor’s Adult Hospice @ Home team. Like Trevor – a man my team and I got to know well, along with his beautiful wife Yvonne – I’m here to ask for your help. Christmas is coming. But as with any time in the year, families in North Kent and Bexley still need our support. That could be providing end of life care for our patients, from their own homes - which my team does.

But it could also be providing counselling for bereaved people, or helping those with life-limiting conditions get the most out of the time they have left.When I visited Trevor and Yvonne’s home for the first time, I could see how devoted they were to each other. It broke my heart: seeing Yvonne in such crippling physical pain, and Trevor in a sea of emotional turmoil.We stepped in to manage Yvonne’s symptoms, and help her husband come to terms with her illness – and process his own feelings. Later, we aided Yvonne’s transition to our Inpatient Ward, so she could receive round-the-clock care in her final week.

Yes, Christmas is coming. But a time that means joy and laughter for one family can mean loneliness and loss for another. Knowing Trevor will be spending Christmas without his wife, for instance - and that, for some patients and their families, it may be their last together – is hard.

But it’s why we’re here.

We don’t shut up shop for the holidays. We’re in people’s homes every day – every hour – of the year. The truth is, though, that this service costs money. So our care relies on you – on the generosity of our local Kent communities.

A gift of £26 could help provide a Christmas dinner for one patient on our Inpatient Ward, where Yvonne spent her final days in peace and dignity. £57.93 could help support a Bereavement Cuppa session, giving someone like Trevor a safe space to share their grief. And, £109.19 could help to provide that important first visit to a patient’s home to assess their needs, by a Senior Clinical Nurse Specialist, like me.

So thank you, again, for your support. Whether in their home or our hospice, we’re there for our patients and families – whenever they need us. Your generosity enables us to keep doing so.

From all of us here at ellenor, take care. And have a wonderful, joy-filled Christmas.

Linda Cahill
Senior Clinical Nurse Specialist

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