Your Impact

The hospice have been life-changing for me.

The hospice have been life-changing for me.

The hospice have been life-changing for me.

Ger Kelly, a patient of Blackrock Hospice, makes a big impression. This wonderful man has packed so much into his young life. And now, even as he deals with a life-limiting illness, he’s here to support our Christmas Light Up A Life appeal.

Ger Kelly, 39, is a patient of Blackrock Hospice.

“I’ve had a fantastic life and I’ve done all sorts. Been a chef, a photographer, worked in the media, and I’ve loved all of it. My family cared about living life the right
way, you see? I always say, my mam taught me how to live, and she taught me well.

And now I’m here, in the hospice. It’s been a long road, but a good road. People get the wrong idea about Hospice, they think it’s about dying. It isn’t. It’s about living your life, right up to the end, whenever that may be. They care about you here, and not just in terms of the illness – the whole you. It’s like a family.

I became a master pasta maker in Italy. True story! They loved my pasta, and the shock when they found out who I was. “But you’re Irish!”. I told Ailish, one of the nurses, and the two of us were rolling around laughing. And visitors looking at us thinking,

“I thought this was a sad place”. Anyway, I came back to Ireland and did lots of different things. Ended up in the wine business in Dublin. Loved it. But that’s when I started to get symptoms. Pain in my back, neck and joints. Bad pain, you know. And I was losing weight and couldn’t eat.

I remember the surgeon telling me I had late stage cancer. And yeah, mortality is something I think about. I cry sometimes because I know I’m going to die young. But the people in the hospice, they always pull me through. I’m living now, that’s the important thing.

Ger Kelly with his ‘wonder nurse’ Ailish.

And I’ve no regrets. I’m only thirty-nine but I’ve had a wonderful life with the best family and friends you could ask for.

The hospice have been life-changing for me. And it’s not just about care, it’s about the staff. Ailish, my wonder nurse, might ask me how I am and I’ll say, ‘I’m OK’.

But she’ll look me in the eye and say, ‘I know you’re in pain, Ger’. She knows me.

Everyone’s like that here – experts medically and experts at humanity. They’ll miss me. They’ll remember me. Not because I’m special, but because they care.

That’s why I love Light Up A Life. It’s such a positive way to remember people. That’s why I’m supporting it this year. And I’ll be remembering someone myself too. Someone special, that I lost. But I’ll also be remembering my Mam, an extraordinary woman. But still very much alive. Is that allowed?”

And Ger’s off, laughing again, lighting up lives wherever he goes.

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