Our Great Daffodil Appeal

This month, Marie Curie holds our annual Great Daffodil Appeal and millions of people will wear a daffodil pin and make a donation in support of our work. It’s always incredibly inspiring to see how many people take part and contribute their time, energy and enthusiasm to our largest annual fundraising campaign. This year we are also unveiling four ‘Gardens of Light’ across the UK at sites including London, Belfast, Glasgow and Caernarfon in Wales. The gardens feature thousands of handcrafted, illuminated daffodils with each one representing someone who will be helped by Marie Curie this March.

This year we are also unveiling four ‘Gardens of Light’ across the UK at sites including London, Belfast, Glasgow and Caernarfon in Wales. The gardens feature thousands of handcrafted, illuminated daffodils with each one representing someone who will be helped by Marie Curie this March.

Although we are not the only charity that supports people living with terminal illness, we are the only provider that works across all four nations of the British Isles. But unfortunately we aren’t able to provide care universally to all. It depends a great deal on whether local commissioners decide to work in partnership with us and although we receive the majority of our money from private donations, we do rely on funding from the NHS who can choose to use our services or not. Sadly, this means that people in some places in the UK cannot access our services, which could mean there are gaps in provision.

Another barrier we face is fragmented health services where there is little joined up thinking between social care and primary and secondary health care. In areas where networks are strong, such as Hampshire, GPs readily refer patients with terminal illnesses to Marie Curie nurses and hospices. This is quick and effective. In other regions, it may take much longer and involve more decision makers.

When we have patients under our care, we follow the principle of personalised care. It is about meeting the needs of the person who is dying and his or her family members. If you also support the family, you remove unnecessary stress and the possibility that people will worry that they are letting their loved one down.

It is very important to talk to the patient and their family members about what they need and want. We do sometimes face the issue of people being unwilling or unable to talk about dying, which is why the relationships that we build with our patients and their families are so important. The more you are able to plan for what is going to happen, the better your death is likely to be.
In our hospices, we have specialist palliative care consultants and nurses who can help people talk about death and dying and make plans for the future. This includes practical help and we have support services which can focus on things such as funeral arrangements and financial assistance.

As care has become more medicalised, there is a sense that death can be put off indefinitely, even among those who have a terminal illness. Yes, more and more people are living longer with a terminal illness, but death will come, and facing that fact can be very empowering.

As care has become more medicalised, there is a sense that death can be put off indefinitely, even among those who have a terminal illness. Yes, more and more people are living longer with a terminal illness, but death will come, and facing that fact can be very empowering.

Once the plans have been made, people can get on with living and our whole emphasis is helping people live well in the time they have available. We can support people at different stages of the journey, when they have just received their diagnosis and feel shock more than anything else, and when treatments become exhausting and debilitating. Also, we are there to celebrate in times of remission and when new treatments are keeping symptoms at bay and a disease under control.

Jane Collins

Jane Collins

Jane Collins is the CEO of Marie Curie, the charity which provides care and support to people living with any terminal illness and their families.
Jane Collins

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