It is hard to believe but the place that I know I am guaranteed to laugh the most outside of my home is Cynthia Spencer Hospice!
I volunteer at this remarkable place on a Tuesday every other week. Currently there is not the option of a weekly session at the day centre on a Tuesday because of funding but I hope that will change soon.
There is a 12 week Wednesday course for those people referred to the hospice for help, support and care but what makes the Tuesday group so special is that they are GRADUATES of a Wednesday group that fought to get another day so they could keep coming back! This is a place full of life.
As with many of these types of organisations funding is tight and budgets hard to finalise. I don’t want to go into this too much now. I am more interested in supporting the people involved and whose who need help at this time.
Almost all of those who attend the day centre require help with transport. Some have family who can take them to the day centre but others require the support of the hospice to organise this. It is as you can imagine quite an undertaking. The people who provide the transport are also volunteers and have to go through the usual checks and training. Currently we are lacking in drivers for both the Tuesday and Wednesday group.
It was raised by a member of staff that it would be brilliant to have a minibus to pick people up in the morning and drop them home again at the end of the day. This both reduces the reliance on volunteer drivers and saves money on a taxi which is just not sustainable.
While we joked that it was a big wish and a bit ‘pie in the sky’ I had a real nagging feeling that we should just try and get it anyway.
While there are the obvious logistical benefits I feel that actually it is the whole coming together to help make this become a reality that has the most power.
Because the reason that the day centre is so much fun to be involved with is because everyone is very much their authentic self.
The assumption is that the day centre gives everyone some timeout from normal life. But this is not really the case. What actually happens is that everyone loses all of their false beliefs about themselves and their situation. There are no judgements, labels of being a mum,dad,grandad,grandma,daughter,son – the seemingly important role that everyone has to play vanishes – we get rid of the protective coat and become ourselves. A person not an illness. But the most amazing thing about this is that the space created in that environment is not relief but real life.
The atmosphere of the day quickly transforms into joy as everyone loses their labels and becomes free, open and relaxed. The support and community that we all feel is of powerful healing. But then old habits and feelings start to return as the day ends and ‘normal life’ resumes. If only the table could be turned to show that ‘normal life’ is laughing, having fun and being happy. Not having to play a perceived role.
I have often thought that if it was possible to have more days available at the hospice then that would be great, but if not, finding a way for each person to feel the way they do at the hospice while at home would be so supportive.
The feeling of the memory of the ‘Royal Delivery’ of a Kit Kat (a highlight of lunch being served for one lady) or the joyous singing of one of the volunteers! (This often makes even the most frail person begin to gain the power to run!). The material content covered at the day centre is great but it is the feeling that makes it special. A supportive community of friends looking after and for each other.
So let’s bringing it all together!
– Let’s raise £25,000. This is the approximate cost of a new minibus with a tail lift so those in wheelchairs can attend. The other option is to lease which saves on maintenance etc but will cost about the same for 3 yrs.
– Let’s use the project as a way of involving those who attend the day centre in a positive way. An exciting opportunity to help each other and those yet to become part of their group. As a way of keeping that alive feeling each day as we all spread the word.
– On 12th August 2015 the Cynthia Spencer Hospice opens its doors for a fundraising day. I want to use this date as the focus for our efforts.
How we can raise the money?
I have an iPhone & iPad alarm clock app that delivers inspirational quotes to the user.
It is called inspirationAL – wake up inspired
It is free to download with the option to unlock our full library of quotes with an in-app purchase. For the whole week that includes 12th August (10th-16th) I will donate £1 from every in-app purchase.
We therefore just need to spread the word and get 25,000 people to download the app and make the purchase during that week. You can download and use the app at anytime from now but make the in-app purchase from ‘want more’ on the settings page of the app during 10th-16th August. I should explain that the cost of the purchase will be £2.29 but this total includes the costs we have to pay Apple (1/3rd) and our admin/running cost of 34 pence.
Why I created the app and why it links these two aspects of my life.
The reason the app is such a good tool for sharing and fundraising is that I am working with such amazing people like Anita Moorjani and Christina Rasmussen. The quotes used on the app are provided by our contributors. Some quotes are famous and some are from living authors who have a powerful story to share through their books and website. Each quote has a link to the contributor so if something really resonates with the person reading the quote they can click to explore more. The hope is that this will provide support for those who need it and expose new ways of thinking for people. This can be inspirational in their lives and as a result help them to have a long healthy life.
If this interests you then take a look at:
http://www.anitamoorjani.com had end stage cancer and a near death experience in 2006 but now travels the world talking about her recovery and what she has learnt.
Christina Rasmussen who after losing her husband to cancer in her 30’s setup http://www.second firsts.com to support people in grief.
http://www.berniesiegelmd.com who has done amazing work with cancer patients and how to help them.
How to help and what to do.
Please share this post with all your friends and colleagues. Click the link below to download the app and make the £2.29 in-app purchase anytime during the week of 10th-16th August. It is that simple. I receive daily analytics so will know exactly how much has been raised. The app is available around the world so in this modern day of technology 25,000 people is not so many to find. The result will mean more people can be supported and experience the wonderful place that is Cynthia Spencer Hospice. It is not a place to die it is place to learn how it feels to live no matter what your situation.
That is the gift. The money just makes it possible.