When a loved one is nearing the end, he or she often voices a longing to enjoy some of the simple pleasures in life: to see a particular person again, to be able to feel the sun on his or her skin, to experience fresh snow one more time.
The people at St. Richard’s Hospice in Worcester, U.K., have made it their mission to grant those end-of-life wishes when they can. Right before Christmas, one of their residents voiced her desire to see snow, something that was very near and dear to her heart.
With a little outside help, the hospice was able to make it snow, much to Helen Kennaway’s delight.
“Something magical happened in our hospice gardens today,” St. Richard’s Hospice shared on Facebook on Dec. 9. “It snowed!
“We were honoured to make patient Helen Kennaway’s special wish to see snow again a reality – with a little help from Chris and his snow machine!
“It is always our privilege to help make time spent at St Richard’s as personal and special to our patients as possible. Huge thank you to Chris from CLS Entertainments for providing the wonderful, snowy experience.”
The hospice shared photos and a video of Kennaway enjoying the flurry from the comfort of her bed. The “snow” drifted through the air and lay scattered across the walls, floor and even Kennaway herself.
A relative, Julika Kennaway, commented on the post and said the snow day was especially fitting.
“Just before Helen came to you, she told me she wants to imagine a happy, joyous image of herself sledging through the sparkly fresh snow – thank you St Richard’s, you’re absolutely wonderful to have organised this flurry of snowflakes, thank you!” she wrote.
Chris Lauriello with CLS Entertainments commented as well, saying that his participation had brought him much joy.
“One of the most memorable things I have ever done,” he said. “To see her smile was the best thing to happen to me in years. God Bless you Helen.”
Thousands were cheered by the simple joy Kennaway expressed, and the story soon went viral.
Dozens of people also responded to the post, mentioning their own ties to the hospice. Some told about how their family members had been able to enjoy their final days in the hospice’s beautiful gardens, while others emphasized how loving and respectful the staff was.
Based on this story and the many other stories that viewers chimed in with, St. Richard’s seems to be doing some serious good.
“We’ve been humbled by the reaction to the story, which has reached more than 100,000 people on our own social media and millions of others having been shared by news outlets across the world!” the hospice posted on Dec. 14. “It also saw supporters sharing some really moving stories about their experiences of our care; thank you to everyone who took the time to do so.
“It is always our privilege to help make time spent at St Richard’s as personal and special to our patients and their loved ones as possible and, of course, none of that is possible without our incredible supporters.
“You see, while we deliver the Christmas magic it’s you who makes it possible with your generous gifts and donations. Something which makes up more than three quarters of our funding. So thank you – from us all.”
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