When the COVID-19 pandemic impacted our fundraising June Close spoke to us to share her experiences as part of our Emergency Appeal.
Sadly, June never got to see the incredible impact she made, as she passed away before we launched our appeal. This is her story.
My name is June Close. I am from Belfast and have two daughters. I am (only) 62 years of age. A couple of months ago I was looking forward to 2020, spending time with family and continuing my passion as a disabled horse-rider, competing in dressage - and generally loving life! However, my cancer is terminal.
As the world worries, I find myself in a comfortable room at Northern Ireland Hospice with, perhaps days to live. You see, over the years I suffered two strokes – it’s fair to say times have been tough. It was at my lowest that I was introduced to competitive disabled horse riding and dressage. That was 14 years ago. Despite never having been near a horse during my childhood I’ve now won countless rosettes and trophies! There was no stopping me.
It’s hard to describe the apprehension you feel when someone mentions hospice care as an option. But the pain I was suffering at home, and in hospital, was unbearable. It was horrendous for my daughters Charlene and Carol too. Thanks to Northern Ireland Hospice, I have become a new person.
Within days of arriving, I was back on my feet. I was singing with my family, celebrating my gorgeous grandson’s birthday, and enjoying every single moment! I cannot put a price on the quality-of-life Northern Ireland Hospice has given me and that’s down to the care and expertise that the staff deliver, with the warmest of smiles. Here I am amazed every day. People in the Hospice only know how to put the patient and their family before everything else. Doctors, consultants, nurses, housekeepers, café staff, social workers, and volunteers, they are all incredible people.
At Northern Ireland Hospice, I’m able to be the mum and friend to my daughters that I always was. And they can be my daughters, not just my carers. We are allowed to be a family. The staff even helped me go on a horse-and-carriage tour recently round the local area! That was, quite simply, one of the best days of my life. I want to stay at Northern Ireland Hospice. I know I am in good hands and that when my time comes; I will have dignity and respect