Paula Perera has been a volunteer for Martlets for more than ten years. Her son Gordon was cared for on our inpatient unit. She tells us about the care he received and why she has chosen to leave a gift in her Will to Martlets.
I decided to make my Will during Martlets’ Will Writing Month because it wasn’t expensive. I knew that every penny of the fee that I paid would go to Martlets. It was really simple to do. I knew which solicitor I wanted to use, and I just got in touch with them to arrange everything.
Being able to leave something in my Will to the hospice makes me feel very proud. I care about my community and would like my gift to be used to make someone’s life easier, just as they helped my son and us as a family. I hope that it can support someone who needs the wonderful Martlets team, so that it makes a real difference to their life.
From the doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants at Martlets to the housekeeping staff and canteen workers, we felt warmly enfolded in their arms.
Sadly, my son was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in 2018 and he died in 2020. Everyone involved in his care at Martlets was such a comfort. They organised occupational physiotherapy for Gordon at home to help with his mobility; they got a special adjustable bed, chairs, frames, all the equipment he needed.
The spiritual care was also such a support. Nicholas, Martlets’ chaplain at that time, used to spend an hour with my son every morning, even on his days off sometimes if Gordon needed him. That was as important as the medical care. Those conversations helped Gordon understand that he still had the freedom to make choices about his care and what would happen. There were choices that he could make and that we could be involved in as a family and that was so important.
There was peace and there was serenity all around from the minute Gordon went in until the time he died.
During his last week, the discharge nurse at Martlets arranged for someone who understood MND to stay with Gordon at home overnight. He told me though, that he wanted to go back into the hospice to be cared for at the end. That’s how comfortable he felt about being there. Unfortunately, I wasn’t present when Gordon died, but when I went in the nurses let me sit with him and hold him for as long as I needed to. I held him like a baby; he was still my baby.
The staff were so sensitive and caring. They always answered my questions honestly and listened at length even when they were busy. And they didn’t just care for my son, they cared for me, my daughter, and his wife and children too. His daughter who is 9 is still having bereavement counselling from Martlets which is a great support.
Rather than have bereavement counselling, I needed to feel grounded by getting involved in the Martlets community; continuing as a volunteer has been such a comfort.
It is a joy to be volunteering again and I’ve been helping out on the inpatient unit at Maycroft Manor. Even though the staff are in this temporary site until the new hospice building is finished, it is the same level of incredible care they give. The move has made no difference to the service they provide.
I go to the bereavement evenings, I sing in the Martlets choir, and I’m a Compassionate Neighbour. They’ve also trained me to use the computer in the warehouse. So, I’m doing some data inputting for them, which I’m enjoying because I’m with people again. It’s like being part of a big Martlets family.
I feel that, by being a volunteer, I can make a difference to someone else’s life. Often, it’s just a smile or a kind word but that’s what it’s all about.
There is a serenity here at Martlets that gives people an inner strength. You’re not just a patient, you’re a person.
As a community, we’re lucky to have Martlets; it’s there for us – the people of Brighton & Hove and the surrounding areas. The hospice provides care that you just wouldn’t find anywhere else. I see the amazing things that everyone does here to make peoples’ lives more comfortable. They care with such dignity and respect, and the staff are always there to listen even when they’re busy. They look after the families as well as the patients and that’s such very important work that must continue. That’s why I’ve left a gift to Martlets in my will.
Leaving a Gift in your Will
Every May, we team up with local solicitors who will write your Will in return for a donation to Martlets of £150 for a single Will or £250 for a joint Will. Some people also use our scheme to remember us with a legacy gift. This year Will Writing Month takes place between 2nd – 31st May 2023.
To make an appointment contact one of our Will Writers between 3rd April 2023 and close on 28th April 2023. Find out more about Will Writing Month and a list of our Will Writers here.