Lisa Harland is one of our longest serving volunteers having volunteered for 25 years. Now in our 25th Anniversary Year, Lisa reflects on the last 25 years.
“My story started in December 1996. I was a qualified hairdresser and worked in Knaphill for 20 years. I have always wanted to do some volunteer work, helping people – even if it was just to be there to listen to someone or share a friendly smile.
It was my Mum Mary who heard the Hospice needed volunteers. Mum thought I could perhaps use my hairdressing to help some of the patients feel cared for here in the Hospice. While I continued to work full time, I had an interview and offered up my free time to help out in the Ward and Day Care. I have happy memories from my time there, catching the bus to the old Hospice on Hill View Road all those years ago.
As the years went by, I became more involved with the Hospice’s Community Team. At this time Mum and I had some good ideas for fundraising and enjoyed putting on various events like a ladies’ Ascot day, an Easter raffle and coffee mornings. We also enjoyed organising a few coach trips for the Day Care Patients organised and I can remember a wonderful visit to Kew Gardens.
Two years later, in May 1998, my dear Dad Alan [aged 60] was diagnosed with cancer. I said to him one day, why not come with me to the Day Care Unit at the Hospice? At the time, I was volunteering there once or twice a week. Dad was scared to come at first but he did enjoy his visits, which included a nice cup of tea, lunch and a chat with the nurses. At the end of May, Dad was referred as an in-patient and sadly passed away on 11th June 1999.
As a patient on the ward Dad enjoyed the garden. I remember him sitting out there, looking out onto the garden and a lion water feature. This has since been moved to the new Hospice in Goldsworth Park in the Wild Wood Garden.
Dad was always so proud of me for being a volunteer, as was my Mum. I remember him saying, “this is the closest place to heaven!”. I will remember that for the rest of my life.
When the day came to say goodbye to Dad, dad was not in any pain and was made very comfortable. The doctors and nurses were incredible. There was a peaceful calm but you are never fully prepared for saying goodbye.
In July 1999, I applied and got a place in the London Marathon, running in Dad’s memory for the Hospice. I was delighted for this opportunity and having no experience in running was determined to prove to myself I can do this. The training was challenging but I am proud to say I completed the marathon in 7 hours and was able to raise money in aid of the Hospice.
Life felt difficult as I navigated my way around bereavement and counselling. I then decided to step back from hairdressing. I now work in a day nursery and continue to support the Retail Team at the Hospice. Mum became a volunteer at the Knaphill Hospice Furniture Shop from August 1999 until January 2013 and I then helped in the shop as well on a Saturday afternoon and continue to do this today.
My mum supported the Hospice for 14 years as a volunteer and various fundraising events. She sadly passed away on 13th May 2013. Although we miss her and Dad dearly, I feel proud to have worked alongside her for such a great cause. Mum’s memory continued to give with donations given in memory of her life in aid of the Hospice.”
Lisa continues to volunteer and fundraise for us. During the first national lockdown, Lisa put together bags of hope to give to the clinical team in the Hospice. With the continual postponing of events over these 2 years, Lisa and her partner took on the Virtual London Marathon, starting and finishing here at the Hospice.
We want to extend a big thank you to Lisa and her family, who have given so much. We are proud that the Hospice can continue to make such a difference today as it did all those years ago.
Do you have a personal story like this to share? If you would like to share your personal story about how our Hospice has cared for you or a loved one please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org