AFTER a year of relentless fundraising and goodwill from our readers, Dorothy’s Dream has finally become a reality.
Today, The Rowans Hospice in Purbrook launches a new service providing comfort to terminally-ill patients who choose to die in their own homes.
Hospice at Home has only been possible thanks to the amazing generosity of all of you, who have so far helped raise a staggering £750,000 exactly a year since the Dorothy’s Dream campaign was launched.
The total amount needed to fund the two-year pilot is £1m but the home service team of 13 nurses and health care support workers – nine of whom are brand new recruits – are ready to get started.
Ruth White, chief executive of The Rowans, who joined as matron when it first opened in 1994, said: ‘This is a dream come true. We were so worried about how we would manage to raise all the money at a time when the country was in recession, but there was something about this appeal that caught the imagination and we are thrilled to be here today announcing its launch.
‘I feel so humbled and overwhelmed by the support of people and their amazing generosity.
‘I also want to give credit to The News for supporting the campaign and helping make Dorothy’s Dream a reality. The interest we’ve had from the paper and readers has been tremendous. It’s been a lovely way to communicate with the public – because the hospice is their hospice.’
The whole Dorothy’s Dream appeal has been based on the famous line from The Wizard of Oz – there’s no place like home.
Hospice at Home is a 24/7 all-year-round service for patients that will complement care provided by the NHS and social services.
It will also be supported by volunteers helping with errands in homes as well as others trained specifically to offer psychological support.
Mrs White added: ‘If you ask people where they want to die the majority of them actually say at home. But it’s not so simple to die at home, unless you’ve got your own private means. And it’s very scary for families who have limited services or who don’t know what to expect. This service is about looking after people in the last few days of their lives so their families can stand back from the physical demands of care and become relatives again.’
DONATIONS STILL NEEDED TO SUPPORT SERVICE
FUNDRAISNG success stories don’t get much better than this, but the job is not over yet.
There is still a critical £250,000 needed to see the pilot through, and after that the home service will cost an estimated £500,000 a year to run.
Chris Winder, who has terminal cancer, scaled HMS Warrior’s mast last year dressed as the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz and raised £5,000 for the cause.
The 63-year-old from Waterlooville said: ‘It was one of the best things I ever did. It gave me a lot of strength of mind knowing I was doing something worthwhile for other people. Hospice at Home is a wonderful service and I hope people support it generously.’
To donate £5 text Dream to 70800. Otherwise call (023) 9223 8531 or visit rowanshospice.co.uk.