About our family
Carol Kay, wife of Jack and mother to Michael and Abigail, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 2006, and, despite bravely fighting the disease, eventually succumbed on the 27th of December 2011. Her last month was spent in the Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading, where she received outstanding care, above and beyond what we could have hoped for. In the year prior to being admitted to the hospice, she attended day therapy sessions and even spent a week there whilst attempts were made to help improve her pain relief treatment.
In the hospice she was treated with more care, love and respect than we could ever have expected. One example typifies the respect given. Carol was rushed from the hospice to the local hospital by ambulance early on a Friday morning but nothing more could be done for her. Unfortunately, no ambulance could be found in the local health care system to return her to the hospice. When the hospice director heard of this he arranged for a private ambulance at his expense without consulting us so that Carol would be back in the hospice before Shabbat as he knew us to be observant Jews. This love and respect in an increasingly secular society is very special and meant a great deal to us.
Fund raising for the Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading
In gratitude for the love and care shown to Carol, we have established a web link for donations to support the hospice in which Carol died and since mid-January have raised more than £28,000 when Gift Aid is included. If you would like to donate to this appeal, please follow the link below:
Since our loss our family (my son, daughter and I) have thrown ourselves into a fund raising year in Carol’s memory. Michael and Abigail are both students and are active in their university Jewish Student Societies. They have been working over the last few months to encourage students on campuses across the country to donate blood at local donation sessions in Carol’s memory. Using the network existing within the Union of Jewish Students (UJS), the importance of blood donation can be promoted to Jewish and non-Jewish students where ever they are in the UK. You can read more about this campaign at:-
Students who want to get involved on their local campus are invited to email:
Hair for Hospices day, 7 August, 2012
On my part, I suggested in February that I would shave off my 38 year old beard for the hospice provided sufficient funds were pledged in advance. This simple call has lit a fuse which has now become an international concern!
No sooner had I expressed my intention than colleagues around the UK and the world expressed support and a wish to participate. The result is “Hair for Hospices” on 7 August.
The overall purpose of the day will be to raise international awareness of the need for hospices everywhere and to raise funds for hospices local to where people participate in our day of action by doing something visible to their hair. Small groups of supporters have been already been set up in a number of countries around the world and more will be welcome.
Key supporters for Hair for Hospices Day
Support from UK Government
I am a senior scientist for a small agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in the UK and have much international contact within my post.
This event now has the support of the whole of Defra from the very top, down; with pledges of support from the Permanent Secretary and the Minister of State, Jim Paice. Defra’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Chief Veterinary Officer are also getting involved in the day.
A co-ordinated publicity drive is now about to start to include other government departments both in the UK and abroad.
Support from family, friends and colleagues around the world
I was a member of the UK delegation to the meeting of the Codex Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Food (CCRVDF) held in May in Puerto Rico. This committee responds to a body established by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization to develop food standards.
Prior to the CCRVDF meeting the organisers offered me the opportunity to address the meeting to tell delegates of the Hair for Hospices event. As a result of my talk and other contacts I have around the world, there is now support for this event from family, friends and colleagues in the following countries:-
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Eire, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Spain, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay, USA, Zimbabwe.
In addition, colleagues in international bodies such as the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, European Commission, International Atomic Energy Agency and more have agreed to support the event.
All efforts by those outside Reading are to raise awareness of hospices and the need for them local to where their events take place. Any funds raised by them will support their local hospices.
As an example of the support from colleagues abroad, the Danish Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) and his wife will both colour their hair on 7 August to support Danish hospices. In addition, staff working for the CVO accross Denmark will be encouraged to follow his example! Colleagues in many other countries are also planning activities around the day and I’ll try to give a flavour of them as they develop.
Support from faiths around the country
We also have growing support from religious leaders. Our local orthodox Rabbi is enthusiastically behind this campaign and will shave off his beard in support on the day and the Bishop of Reading has already promised to dye his beard purple for the day!
Events in Reading
The hospice I am supporting is based in my home town of Reading and our local bus service, Reading Buses, has agreed to support and promote this event, as did the previous Mayor of Reading.
The two schools in Reading which our children attended (Southcote Primary School and Theale Green) are also getting involved in a term-time event. Participation from more schools, both in Reading and elsewhere would be very welcome.
Help the Hospices, the leading charity supporting hospice care throughout the UK is promoting this event to hospices in the UK.
Interest is now being expressed by a number of national and multi-national companies and this site will be updated to reflect new participants.
A final word from Carol
It is fitting that the last words here should come from Carol. Even in her last days, she clung to the hope that she might still return home, but wouldn’t do this without thanking the hospice staff for all the care and love delivered so unselfishly. In the last thing I knew her to write, she prepared a card for the hospice staff which was never to be delivered. When you read Carol’s thoughts about the hospice you will understand why we are so passionately working to raise the awareness of hospices and the need for them around the world. Carol wrote:-
“Please accept the enclosed as a mere token of our gratitude for what you have done for us this past week. We can’t find the words to express our thanks. At least if you were a hotel we could recommend you to all our friends and tip the chambermaid. We could still do the latter, I suppose, but perhaps you would rather we didn’t.”