The Lay Family Appeal
My husband Mark lived life to the full and always wanted to try and help others, even when he was so ill himself. Without a doubt he would have wanted us to share his story, so that others facing this life-changing situation may also benefit from the incredible care and support St Wilfrid’s provides.
My wonderful husband, Mark, and I met when we were teenagers. On the date of Mark’s funeral (12th September) it would have been our 25th wedding anniversary, we were together 29 years!
Mark was a Sales Manager for Pure Fishing, selling fishing tackle to shops in and around the south east and London area; he was a football coach, loved running and had recently joined his local running club. He was also a keen fundraiser; organising quizzes, running marathons and involving the Arundel Community in ‘Painting the town green’ to raise money for various charities.
Mark was just 46 when he died in August 2017. He was diagnosed with bowel cancer on 13th October 2013.
Mark was so strong he wanted to do as much as he could to fight it, even when he was told it had spread to his liver. In the three years since his diagnosis, Mark underwent bowel and liver surgery, had over 50 rounds of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and battled sepsis on three occasions: each time he came out the other side with positivity.
Mark was determined to do as much as he could to raise money and awareness - we joined him in this challenge and called ourselves ‘Team Lay’. Mark continued to fight but when his cancer stopped responding to chemotherapy he decided it was time to stop treatment.
Mark was referred to the Hospice in January 2017; it was so reassuring to have someone to ‘call upon’ whenever we needed. In July 2017 Mark started to become very unwell and by the beginning of August went dramatically downhill. After one last night at home, he was admitted to the Hospice.
From the moment we arrived we felt an overwhelming sense of being looked after. For so long we had dealt with the effects of cancer as a family, the five of us relying on each other to try and make sense of an extremely difficult situation. but during the five days Mark spent on the ward, the staff made us feel as though we had known them for years.
Although we are devastated to lose such a wonderful man, St. Wilfrid's has given us the gift of knowing that mark died with his family all around him in peace and with dignity - that will be something that warms our hearts for the rest of our lives.
In 2014 St Wilfrid's embarked upon a major fundraising campaign to raise at least £15.5 million to create a new purpose-designed Hospice. They have made staggering progress but there is still £1.7 million to raise in the next 9 months. Please join me in helping them to reach this goal and enable more families like mine, to receive the care and support they need at such a difficult time.
Please donate now to help more families like mine benefit from St Wilfrid's support.
With heartfelt thanks,