SISTERS Maggie and Jane Leathley know how important the care provided by Sheffield’s St Luke’s Hospice really is.
Their mum, retired nurse Erna Leathley, from Nether Edge, spent the last five weeks of her life in the Whirlow hospice’s inpatient unit during the final stages of her illness.
And that is why they are backing The Star’s appeal to help rebuild the hospice.
The Star has pledged to raise £100,000 towards the charity’s £5 million target - and already £3,235 has come pouring in from generous readers.
For generations, Sheffield residents have received excellent care at St Luke’s - and the way 85-year-old Erna was treated in her final days is something her family will never forget.
Maggie, aged 54, said: “The quality of care mum received made a huge difference to the last few days of her life.
“As a result, her quality of life was about as good as it possibly could be, which in turn meant we were able to enjoy the time we had with her.
“Although the last few weeks and days were very hard for her and for us, we know it would have been so much harder had she been anywhere else.
“The support and kindness shown to us and to mum from the moment she was admitted were wonderful.
“The caring respect shown by all the medical staff made a huge difference.
“We really appreciated the efforts that were made to ensure mum was fully involved in all decisions about her care for as long as she possibly could be.”
Jane, 50, said: “As visitors, we really appreciated the kindness shown by offering us very welcome cups of tea.
“And having access to the canteen also made our lives easier and made eating good food more possible at a time when normal routines were abandoned.
“Their sensitivity and warmth make a huge difference to the whole experience.”
The family is now supporting the hospice’s £5m campaign to fund a new inpatient unit at the hospice, providing single, en suite rooms for 14 patients, with two three-bed rooms.
The project will create a centre fit for the 21st century at the hospice’s Little Common Lane site.
Jane said: “It is impossible to express the extent of our gratitude for the difference St Luke’s made to the quality of mum’s final weeks, the quality of her death and to the quality of our experience.
“The St Luke’s team all do such an important job and they do it so well.”