Christmas appeals raise funds for St Barnabas House and Chestnut Tree House hospices

In support of St Barnabas House hospice and Chestnut Tree House hospice's Christmas appeals, two West Sussex residents have shared their stories.

Thursday, 20th December 2018, 3:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:27 am

Millie Croft, from Steyning, has shared her story about the care St Barnabas House gave to her mum, Betty Millard, and then her husband, Paul Croft.

Millie said: “St Barnabas has been a huge thing in my life. It started with my mum. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February 2015. She went to St Barnabas for pain and medication management. She was so happy there, and it made a massive difference to her.

After Betty died in April 2015, Millie’s husband Paul became ill in December 2016.

St Barnabas House Millie and her mother, Betty

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Millie said: “He was diagnosed with the neurological condition CJD. They say it is like dementia fast forward times ten. Only 66 people a year in the country get CJD. He was just so unlucky. By the time he got to St Barnabas, everything was shutting down.

“I never felt like I was putting the staff out. They can never do enough for you. Paul died with dignity. He slipped away really peacefully.

“Everybody has to go through bereavement but I feel like I had a double dose of it. I am doing alright now. But there are loads more families who need help right now.”

Millie and her husband, Paul

To read Millie’s story in full or make a donation to the St Barnabas House Christmas Appeal, please visit www.stbh.org.uk/christmasappeal

Chestnut Tree House is the children’s hospice in Arundel for Sussex and South East Hampshire, and Trina Beckett from Burgess Hill has shared how the care has helped her son Craig, and the rest of the family.

Craig receives care from the children’s hospice as he has a condition which is slowly shutting down how his brain communicates with his body.

Trina, with husband Paul and sons, Craig (left) and Adam (right)

Trina said: “My son Craig is my amazing little man. He has a progressive neurological condition which means he is very fragile, has no independent movement and needs constant, round-the-clock care.

“But Craig has a rich, rewarding life thanks to the dedicated, expert care he receives from Chestnut Tree House.

“From the moment we set foot in the hospice, I knew we were in the right place. We found a place of light, of fun, of laughter that was to become our second home, and Craig’s favourite place in the whole world. Chestnut’s care gives Craig the strength to fight on.”

Craig and Father Christmas

This year will be Craig’s tenth Christmas since his diagnosis, when the family was told he would only have a year to live.

Trina said: “This year, with help from The Snowman, we are leading a fundraising campaign to find the £116,450 Chestnut will spend on care over Christmas for life-limited children like Craig. One hour’s nursing care for one child costs £35.70.”