PHOTO ABOVE: Gordon and Phyllis White donating a Christmas tree to Rowans Hospice in 2017
Gordon White’s father was admitted to Rowans Hospice in 2016. Read the story of how the special care Gordon’s father received led him to make a festive promise that would last for many years to come.
My dad had non-aggressive prostate cancer for twenty years. Then on Christmas Eve 2015 he was diagnosed with Leukaemia and given about seven weeks to live. His birthday was Boxing Day.
He was going strong until the end. Then he suddenly stopped eating, wasn’t drinking a great deal, he was finding it difficult sleeping. Rapidly he looked like a really old man. It was then, the end of July 2016, my dad came into the Rowans and he died on the 3rd August.
Thankfully we were with him when he died, because whoever was on duty that night realised. They phoned us to say they didn’t think that he would last the night. So my brother, his wife Helen, my mum and I rush up to see him. We spent about an hour or so with him. He only had a sheet over him, so you could see him breathing and the breath was getting shallower and shallower. Then the sheets stopped moving, whilst my mum sat next to him, holding his hand.
Mum was still and didn’t appear to notice he had died. I step outside and said to the nurse, I think he has gone, and the nurses asked me what I wanted to do. I said to give my mum another ten minutes. I went back in and sat with my mum. When the nurse came in she said “Right I am just going to do some observations and checks.” Then gently caught my mums gaze and said “So sorry but he has gone.”
He died with such dignity and respect. It’s brilliant he was at Rowans, the place is so peaceful, calm, relaxed. Everyone is helpful.
My parents had always donated to the Rowans, since the 80s, because it is a local charity. After experiencing the quality of care, I also wanted to help Rowans and provide a fitting tribute to my Dad.
As I mentioned, my Dads birthday was on Boxing Day. He use to tell us that as a kid he only ever got one present. However he loved Christmas and when we were children he would always make it special for me and my brothers, even though we didn’t have a lot of money. One Christmas was really tough, the gas and electricity was cut off, as we couldn’t pay. So my dad sent me out to find wood, which he used to make a fire and cooked our Christmas dinner over in a frying pan. It was a brilliant Christmas, thanks to Dad.
“It’s brilliant he was at Rowans, the place is so peaceful, calm, relaxed. Everyone is helpful.”
I want to make sure we celebrate the memory of his life at Christmas. That is why as long as I am alive I will donate a Christmas tree every year to Rowans as fitting tribute to my Dad and the brilliant care that he received.”
Rowans Hospice House Manager, Tanya Wears stated: “We are so grateful to Gordon’s generous donation. The housekeeping team and floral Volunteers always do our best to make sure that we decorate the whole of the Hospice and the Living Well Centre, to spread as much festive cheer, for visitor’s, patient’s, staff and volunteers. This is only possible thanks to the beautiful trees donated each year by the Southwick estate and by Gordon, whose financial donation has also made sure we have enough decorations to help Christmas sparkle!”
If you’d like to join Gordon in helping to make Christmas special for our patients and their families staying with us over the festive period this year please consider making a donation by clicking the button below.