Light Up a Life has offered great solace and joy to so many people since it began in 1992. Last year, some 27,000 people were lovingly remembered through lights sponsored in their name. In addition, a number of companies supported the campaign through generous donations that in turn helped our patients and families.

Now celebrating its 27th year, it is really heart-warming to consider the many thousands of people – patients, relatives, friends, who have been directly affected and benefited from the efforts and generosity of spirit of all those who have been involved throughout the years.

As well as an opportunity to pay tribute to those who meant so much to us, Light Up a Life is the most important annual fundraiser for Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services – and it’s your participation that makes it so memorable.

Last year, Light Up a Life raised almost €450,000 for urgent patient services and facilities improvements. Your generous donations directly support our frontline services such as our nurses, physiotherapists and social workers – compassionate staff who provide comfort and dignity to patients and their families as they live out their final days, helping families make the most of their precious time together.

So in sponsoring a light for €6 there is a double benefit to your kind and generous act. In honour of the person you have sponsored a light for, your gift will be directly supporting the loving care of patients in both our Harold’s Cross and Blackrock hospices. If you’re missing someone this Christmas, remember them – in the most magical and moving way. Light up their life. And once you have remembered your own loved ones, take some time to browse through the tributes, photos and stories shared by others.

And, if you work in a company, please consider a Christmas donation to the Hospice by becoming a leading light. Your company’s support will make a real difference and will be recognised and profiled in a number of ways.

Christmas has always been a time to remember loved ones and those close to you. So please, get involved this year and Light the Life of someone special to you.

Thank you.

There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of even one small candle.”

– St Francis of Assisi

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The Hospice makes life easier for everyone

First diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009, Frances Biggs spent five weeks in hospital during the summer and was recommended to move to Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services for physical therapy and to manage her pain.

A local, living in South Circular Road for nearly sixty years, Frances knew the Hospice but didn’t know how it differs from hospitals or all that it offers to patients and their families. The difference according to Frances and her daughter Karen, is wonderful.

“James’s was amazing,” Karen says, describing the expert care offered by the staff, “but the purpose is so different here.

Frances and Karen explain that every decision is run past Frances, “everything, even questions we weren’t even expected to be asked.”

“It’s so relaxed here,” Frances says, “the atmosphere is different.”

She says the staff are always around, always ready to help; “If you ring the bell at night, they’re here. Ring it during the day, they’re there. They always say don’t hesitate to ring, because you worry about ringing it too often. But they keep telling me that’s what they’re here for and to ring any time you need to.”

They are delighted with the attention to detail, right down to something as simple as the meals – “the girl who brings the food knows I don’t eat a lot so she brings me a side plate of food because she knows it’s all I’ll eat!”

With nine grandchildren, three daughters, and two sons, Frances is certainly kept busy!

“There’s plenty in; one daughter comes in for the nine o’clock news, Karen comes in during the mornings, I had a sister in yesterday afternoon, and another daughter and granddaughter in last night.”

Frances Biggs and her daughter Karen

Despite the number of visitors, Karen stresses that there are never any issues.“Never a struggle to find somewhere to park or queuing up for tea and coffee. It’s a lovely area for walking or cycling but if anyone drives, there’s never an issue for parking.”

Frances chimes in, smiling, “And you can come up anytime you like, which is great.”

Frances Biggs

Frances and her family are hugely impressed with what the Hospice offers, but Frances was in no condition to notice upon first arriving. “I was very bad; I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t sit up, couldn’t get in or out of bed by myself. I had terrible pain and nausea and I just didn’t want to go any further.”

Four weeks before, they wouldn’t have guessed that Frances would not only be going further but going home. And on her own two feet. “I’ve been in the gym almost every day, with the physio. I couldn’t get out of my own bed two weeks ago. Now I can get in and out and walk around with the frame.”

She is delighted with this change, “I’m walking on my own the last two to three days, I’m so thankful to the physio for giving me back the independence to move around again.”

In the coming days, Frances’ house will be visited by staff to ensure it has the equipment she needs to live well at home. Along with the comfort of being in her own home, Frances will be able to attend the Day Hospice service, visiting once a week for a number of weeks, to access a range of different services and to meet others in a similar situation.

As she prepares to finally move back into her own home after her long hospital stay and over two weeks in the hospice, Frances and her family are excited and thankful to the Hospice.

“There’s not enough time to say everything good about this place,” Karen says.

Frances still can’t quite believe it and is feeling full of hope.

I never really thought there was a chance I’d ever go home again, but the change in a little over two weeks is marvellous.”