Keith’s story - what your support means

Keith lost his wife Anita to ovarian cancer last year. Thanks to the generous support of the local community, Dove House was there for Keith and picked him back up when his life came tumbling down and, with your help, he wants everyone who needs hospice care to be able to access it long into the future – you can do this by buying tickets for the Summer Raffle.

He says “I first met Anita on a Christmas Eve. We had a lot in common and talked for ages. We shared a love of travelling and enjoyed talking about our experiences and the places we had visited. I asked her out for a drink, and our relationship grew from there. Anita was the most caring and smartest person I ever knew. We travelled a lot together, having adventures in exciting places, nowhere was off limits, the more bizarre the better!

The next chapter in our life saw us adopting our little boy, Jamie, and the three of us did so many things together, we had such a good time watching him grow up. Our house was full of laughter.

About four years ago, Anita was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. We both kept a positive outlook, and Anita went through a few years of treatment, eventually getting the "all clear" and going into remission. We were so happy and felt like this was a new beginning, so we booked a family holiday to Florida.

A week before we were due to go, Anita's pain returned and we went back to hospital, only to be told the cancer had spread and that Anita had 3-6 months to live. Anita knew she did not want to die at home, as home had always been a happy place - she did not want that to change. Our GP suggested we get in touch with Dove House, we then went to have a look round not knowing what to expect and Anita was later admitted.

I was worrying about Anita, and she was worrying about me and Jamie. I worried about her being alone when I had to work. However, Dove House took the worries away from us all. I sometimes visited three times a day, and I would often arrive as a therapist was massaging her feet, with Anita laying sleepy and relaxed. I knew she was being looked after.

Anita also knew that Dove House was there for me, that I wasn't fighting this alone. I had people to talk to when I came into the hospice, and men don't always have that, at Dove House I didn't feel like I had to put on a brave face. The nurses, doctors and support staff were always there when I needed them.

Dove House is not what you expect, people are laughing and smiling, there is happiness. Emotional support is so important when you know someone is dying, and when they know they are dying - you are just waiting for that day, and time is just ticking away. Dove House provides support and comfort, it is not a place of darkness and doom, and I have some happy memories of the time Anita and I spent there.

I would like to say to people, please support Dove House. My life came tumbling down one day and Dove House picked it up again, and I cannot really thank them enough. Dove House is like a family, it is a family to me.”

The hospice currently receives one of the lowest amounts of Government funding in the country and therefore relies heavily on public support to continue to help local people and their families living with life-limiting illnesses. It is hoped the Your Charity Lottery Summer Raffle will raise over an additional £25,000 for the hospice. Tickets for the Summer Raffle cost just £1, and prizes include £3,000 cash or a summer holiday to the same value, £500 in cash and 25 bundles of £20. All proceeds go directly back to patient care at Dove House Hospice.

If you would like to support people in your local community like Keith you can buy tickets to the Summer Raffle by clicking here