Light Up a Life has offered great solace and joy to so many people since it began in 1992. Last year, some 35,000 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 25th 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.

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. 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.

Light Up a Life is the most important annual fundraiser for Our Lady’s Hospice and Care Services – and it’s your participation that makes it so memorable. Last year, Light Up a Life raised over €454,000 for urgent patient services and facilities improvements. Thanks to advancements in modern medicines, people are living longer so too demand for our services grows year-on-year.

Your support will be put to work will be put straight to work funding our essential frontline services and paying for much-needed equipment and facilities – ensuring both patients and their loving families receive all the dignity, respect and comfort they deserve.  And more than ever, we need your support: We have recently undertaken an extensive redevelopment of our Palliative Care wards, creating 36 single rooms for end of life patients and their families. These wonderful facilities afford our patients the dignity, comfort and privacy that they need.

So in sponsoring a light for €6 there is a double benefit to your moving act. In honour of the person you have lost, your gift will be directly improving the treatment and care of patients here in Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services in Harold’s Cross and Blackrock. 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.

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 True Meaning of Peace

Retired dentist and father-of-five Robert Murphy has travelled from West Clare to the wilds of the Amazon – but it is only now that he has discovered the true meaning of peace. Originally from Dublin’s northside, Robert struggled in school before hearing difficulties were discovered and he went on to University College Dublin, qualifying as a dentist in 1951.

“After a short spell in the UK, he returned and set up his own practice in Drimnagh, in 1953. It was a challenging time because of the economic depression, but it eventually grew. “It all turned right in the end, and the practice is still going strong. I imagine the new owner is near retiring now, and somebody else will probably take over,” he says.

Robert’s wife, Joan, whom he married in 1955, was a dentist as well, and left her practice on the Howth Road to join his. Together they had four girls and a boy; two now live in England, while the others remain nearby. All have been able to visit Robert frequently at the new palliative care unit in Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services, Harold’s Cross.

Robert also has eight grandchildren – who live in Ireland, England, Amsterdam and America – and one great grandchild. Joan, who passed away ten years ago at Our Lady’s Hospice, originally hailed from West Clare. “I’m very much a Dublin man going back generations, so I went about as far afield as I could to find a wife,” Robert says. “I must say, my family are great,” Robert says. “We’ve a very good family. I know parents who are miles better than Joan and myself and their family don’t bother with them, which is very sad.”
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“Robert worked until the age of 75. “I was always busy – too busy. I worked too long and too hard. But I’m also glad I did that. I really loved work. My dad was a dentist, so I sort of followed in his footsteps.” Throughout their lives, Robert and his wife travelled the world. “We went out to the East, and to Norway and the Amazon. We went 1,000 miles upriver to a city called Manaus, which has one of the finest opera houses in the world. But we were very keen on West Clare, and that was the always the best part of our holidays,” he said.

“Robert’s first experience of chest problems was double pneumonia at the age of seven. There were no antibiotics back then, and it took six months to recover. “That’s where all this chest business started,” he said.”

For the past ten years, he has had on-going chest trouble and experienced three bouts of pneumonia in a seven-week period last year. “I’ve been in every hospital you can think of, and nursing homes,” he says. “But I was so delighted when I got in here. I got a great welcome. I came in and I felt the peace immediately, and ever since then. It’s a most peaceful, heavenly place to be,” Robert says.

The friendly staff give him great peace of mind, he adds. “They are so kind and considerate and helpful,” he says. “Nothing is a problem for them. At night time when they’re putting me down to bed, the last thing they say is, to ring them if I need anything and it doesn’t matter how often. That’s a great comfort to me. I’m happy to know that no matter what I need, they’ll provide it. The food is good too!”

“I’ve no worries at all now, being here. All my worries are gone. They left me when I came in here.” “All the staff here at the hospice are great,” Robert adds. “They have been helping me learn how to use an electric wheelchair, and they always come round with a cup of tea.” Robert particularly appreciates this care, as he was on his own at his home in Dartry.

“It was always a worry as I was on my own at home. Even my dog, a poodle named Theo, died. He was a great comfort. I had him for 14 and a half years, but he passed away at Christmas time.” Robert says he had always had a great interest in his garden at home and has been enjoying the grounds surrounding the hospice in Harold’s Cross.

“I was out in the garden here yesterday with my daughter,” he says. “It’s a lovely garden, and beautifully laid out.” Robert has also been taking advantage of the therapies on offer and has participated in several Tai Chi classes.

He says all his children are really happy with the new rooms, where he is staying. “They were amazed by the new facilities, because they hadn’t been here in a while. Joan died here ten years ago and she was comfortable here. She was happy, and I was happy with the care she received – it was the same sort of hands-on care I get from staff now.”

“That was one of the reasons I wanted to return here. My brother-in-law died here too, as did my cousin of mine,” Robert adds.

“If you need a place like this, keep praying that you get it. I’m delighted I could come here.”