Running in memory of dad

ON THE MOVE From left, Owen Cole, Tom Cole, Ryan Leaves, Jay Leaves, Kris Williams, Neil Wingham and Grant Leaves. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122937-601)
ON THE MOVE From left, Owen Cole, Tom Cole, Ryan Leaves, Jay Leaves, Kris Williams, Neil Wingham and Grant Leaves. Picture: Allan Hutchings (122937-601)

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FAMILY and friends will take to the streets to raise cash for a hospice which allowed a father to spend his last days at home.

Garey Leaves was given just weeks to live after being diagnosed with cancer.

TRIBUTE Garey Leaves

TRIBUTE Garey Leaves

The 57-year-old died at home in May this year surrounded by friends and relatives.

Widow Carolyn, 58, said it was only possible for him to spend his last days there thanks to the help of the Rowans Hospice and its Hospice at Home service.

Now to show their gratitude, Garey’s sons Jay and Ryan – along with five others – will be taking part in this year’s Great South Run on October 27.

‘We had never heard of Hospice at Home care,’ said Carolyn.

‘Our doctor referred us to the Rowans and that’s how we got in touch.

‘The hospice staff came in and gave support to the whole family.

‘When he couldn’t take his own medicine they would put drivers into him.

‘A nurse stayed overnight to check on him and give him medicine.

‘It was all taken care of, which meant we could be there for Garey as a family and he died a peaceful death.

‘The nurses were here when we needed them and answering our questions.’

Garey and Carolyn, who were married for 39 years, were living a dream life in Benidorm, Spain.

They had moved there seven years ago after taking early retirement.

Carolyn, a retired bank worker, said: ‘Garey was fit and healthy and wasn’t on any major medicine.

‘He felt unwell and had a pain on his sides and a cough, so went to the doctors.’

There it was discovered Garey, a retired tool maker, had cancer in his pancreas, which had spread from his oesophagus.

The family came back to England to Garey’s brother’s home in Kings Mede, Waterlooville. From there a doctor referred the family to the Hospice at Home service.

Garey’s funeral was held at Portchester Crematorium where it had been agreed money due to be spent on flowers, would instead be donated to the Purbrook hospice.

In total £1,200 was raised and given to The Rowans.

‘I will never stop supporting the Rowans,’ added Carolyn.

‘I was thinking of going back to work, but now I’m thinking of volunteering for them.’

Son Jay, 31, will be joined by his brother Ryan, 34, along with cousin Grant, and friends Kris Williams, Owen Cole, Tom Cole and Neil Wingham for the Great South Run.

Jay said: ‘When my dad was ill we all sat around and we were thinking of ways to raise money.

‘My dad knew we would be doing the run for him and that gives me comfort – that he knew we had arranged this. We also hope to organise an annual golf day fundraiser in his name. And the money from that will go to the Rowans.

‘They really helped our family.’

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Where the Dorothy’s Dream appeal stands today

THE Purbrook-based Rowans Hospice launched its £1m, 18-month hospice at home pilot scheme last September.

It is named Dorothy’s Dream because of the line ‘There’s no place like home’ spoken by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.

Under the service, people with life-threatening illnesses are given the choice to pass away at home surrounded by friends and family.

The appeal is supported by The News and many fundraising events have taken place for its benefit throughout the last year.

The hospice was able to get the service up and running without hitting its £1m target.

And since then it has supported more than 300 families in the Portsmouth and south east Hampshire area.

The funds now stand at £870,000, but the hospice still desperately needs to raise the remaining £130,000 to ensure it can continue.