My involvement with Marie Curie comes from losing three close members of my family, including both of my parents, to cancer. And yet I never realised, until I moved back to Norfolk, and met Melinda Raker, Patron of Marie Curie Norfolk, just how much the charity, which provides care and support through terminal illness, had done for us, as a family. She has this way of engaging people and I met her two years ago, through the launch of the Norfolk’s Own Cookbook – Everything Stops For Tea, which raised money for Marie Curie as well as celebrating Norfolk’s food community. Each £20 book sold has paid for one hour of palliative care by a Marie Curie nurse (there are 33 Marie Curie nurses in Norfolk who provided nearly 30,000 hours of care in the county last year).The cookbook ended up raising well over £100,000 which meant it has also funded a new dementia nurse in Norfolk.
Wear a Daffodil in March
My message this month is, if you see a Marie Curie Great Daffodil Appeal box, put a pound in – or whatever you can afford – and wear a daffodil. As I’m the man behind Charlie’s Norfolk Food Heroes I also like to get local food heroes involved, including the people like Crush Foods. When it was the time of the Great Daffodil Appeal last year, I sat down and thought about what the yellow daffodil, the emblem of Marie Curie, stands for and wrote this: ‘It’s a simple flower that stands alone, with this amazing colour that simply shines and says I’m here, stem that supports strong and steadfast even when those around begin to weaken, and roots that provide a solid foundation – that in its own way gives hope in our hour of need.’
This pretty much sums up how I feel when asked about Marie Curie, and so I’m proud to say I’m ambassador for Marie Curie Norfolk, which has Hugo Stevenson as its community fundraiser. I’m just the ambassador; Hugo is the man who makes everything work. My role is to raise awareness about Marie Curie – it’s not just about palliative care, there are other services provided which are just as important. For example, there is a helper service, where helper volunteers offer companionship and emotional support, practical help and a break for families and carers. And I know just how important this service can be.
Marie Curie nurses can provide one-to-one nursing care and support overnight in your home. What you tend to find, with someone who is at the end of life, is that the darkest time is at night because everyone else goes to sleep – that’s what my dad used to say. And the magic about a Marie Curie nurse is that she will just sit there, through the night.
My involvement with Marie Curie Norfolk feels very personal and I know I’ll always want to be an ambassador.