Jill, who is living with terminal cancer, recently married her partner of 23 years, John, at the Marie Curie Hospice, Belfast.
Jill has been a patient at the hospice for the last eight weeks, receiving care and support following a cancer diagnosis. She said:
‘John asked me to marry him 10 days before the ceremony actually took place and he was so excited when I said yes. It just seemed like the right time. It was a lovely day; the sun was shining and it was nice and still and peaceful.’
John added, ‘I’d been asking Jill to be my wife for 23 years and it finally happened a couple of weeks ago. It was a great day and everyone at the hospice really worked hard to make it all come together.’
Jill says the hospice is like a ‘home from home’: ‘The nurses here are incredible, they go over and above the call of duty. It’s like a family, its home from home, anything that you want, you’ve just got to ask and they are on hand all the time 24 hours a day. My family can stay overnight, they are treated the same as I am, apart from the medication.’
This weekend Jill and John are sharing their story and supporting the Q Radiothon, a three-day fundraiser on Q Radio to support four local charities – Action Cancer, Cancer Fund for Children, Friends of the Cancer Centre and Marie Curie.
Jill said: ‘It so important that people fundraise – what I’ve got is called ‘the silent killer’, so 9 times out of 10 before they detect it, it’s too late. I couldn’t think of a nicer place to come, because you feel secure 24 hours a day. I get a bit emotional, I never thought it would be like this. When you hear the word hospice you just think you’re coming here to die, but it’s not like that at all.’
John concluded, ‘It’s just like a family, everybody takes care of everybody – everybody’s happy. We call it the MC hotel, because everything is catered for you. I think people should know a lot more about what it does for families and patients – it’s just a wonderful place.’
Q Radiothon is a partnership ran by Q Radio and supports local cancer and end of life charities. Last year the three-day fundraiser raised £96,000 to support people like Jill and John. This year, from Thursday 30th May – Saturday 1st June, more families will be sharing their stories on air, describing how important the care and support they received was at a difficult time. For more information visit www.qradiothon.com