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10 September 2020

Carys and Jon: A story of hope and happiness

Carys and Jon: A story of hope and happiness

When Carys Clarke and Jon Powell joined a St Michael’s Hospice bereavement group, they soon discovered they shared a lot in common.

Carys’ husband, Mike, and Jon’s wife, Sue, had both died a few months earlier having been cared for by St Michael’s and they found talking about their experiences during the monthly group walks around Queenswood Country Park helped the grieving process. 

Their relationship continued to grow and just a few weeks ago they married and asked guests watching online to donate to their Hospice in lieu of presents.

‘After meeting at the Striders and Strollers group, we began talking about our experiences, our spouses, our loss and lives openly which has helped us both enormously,’ said Jon.

‘Our friendship grew and developed into something deeper over time and into the love for each other that we have today.’

Jon’s experience with St Michael’s began when Sue was admitted in July 2017, a short time after being diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer. 

She stayed for five weeks but was readmitted to Cheltenham Hospital where she died.

‘Sue and our family received fantastic care by the nurses, support staff and physiotherapists at St Michael’s,’ added Jon.

‘The facilities, location and grounds there are second to none and Sue really enjoyed the time she spent there.’

For Carys, she first contacted St Michael’s when Mike was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.

‘Our children (aged 8 and 10 at the time) had to see their dad fading before their eyes which was very hard for me to watch.

‘We were fortunate enough to benefit from the Hospice at Home service and Hope at St Michael’s (a service available to anyone aged 25 and under who has a close family member diagnosed with a life-threatening illness) who stepped in and supported all four of us before Mike died, and they have continued to be there for the three of us since. We have all been so very grateful for the amazing support and help which we have been given, and without which we would not have been able to cope with Mike’s illness.’

The family has entered various Hospice events including The Paint Runner and the Venus midnight walk, and Carys says St Michael’s will always hold a special place in her family’s hearts.

‘I shall always miss Mike every day but the Hospice has given me the courage to go forward and live my life as I know that Mike would have wished. The Hospice will always be a very special place for our family.’

The couple’s online fundraising page, set-up for donations in lieu of wedding gifts, remains open. It can be found here

Striders and Strollers is a monthly group for anyone who has been bereaved, meeting at Queenswood between Hereford and Leominster. 

For more information about Striders and Strollers call Shirley on 01432 852650 or Sarah on 01432 852627.

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