Joanne Cawley and Sons to switch on our lights at Light up a Life 2018 #lightupalife #wirralhospice #wirral #hospicecare #wellbeing

Published on: 19/10/2018

Joanne Cawley and FamilyWirral Hospice St John’s will be lighting up the hospice gardens with 10,000 beautiful lights this December. Light up a Life has been raising much needed funds for the hospice ever since the first service in 1996.  The switch-on is a really special event which brings together our whole Wirral community to remember those special to them.

This year the lights will be switched on by Joanne Cawley in memory of her mum, Ruth Size, accompanied by her sons, James 13, and Luke 9. Ruth had been first diagnosed with mouth cancer in 1972 and received treatments and therapies that helped her live a full family life until, in January 2009, she was given the completely distressing news that her cancer had returned.  Following an operation to replace Ruth’s jawbone she found difficulty with eating, drinking and talking but she gained a further 8 years, cancer free. In February 2016, the cancer re-appeared and Ruth started receiving palliative care.

Ruth was referred to Wirral Hospice St John’s and attended the Day Therapy Unit, now known as the Wellbeing Centre.  She was apprehensive at first, finding it difficult to communicate with others due to her speech problems.  Her daughter Joanne accompanied her to the first few sessions. They were soon made to feel at ease, being welcomed by our compassionate team of staff and volunteers.

In May 2017 Ruth was admitted onto our In-patient ward and stayed with us for a month.  She received our specialist care which gave Ruth’s husband, Martin (Joanne’s Dad), some peace of mind and much needed respite. Ruth’s wish to die at home was very much respected. A full care package was put in place to support Ruth, complete with equipment for her to use at home.  Following further support from our Hospice at Home team, alongside both community and Macmillan nurses, Ruth died peacefully at home in July 2017, aged 71.

Martin and daughter, Joanne, both received bereavement counselling from Wirral Hospice St John’s. Martin was a member of a bereavement group which helped him talk to others spouses who had lost their partners. Six months after Ruth died, Martin was diagnosed with prostate cancer. In August 2018 Martin died suddenly from a stroke.

Joanne Cawley and Family 2Martin was very proud and thrilled that Joanne and her two sons, James and Luke, were asked to switch on the lights at the Light up a Life service. Joanne said “It is such an honour and privilege to be asked to switch on the lights, as each light has its own special story. This is only our second year at Light up a Life, but will now be our family tradition every year.  We will always remember my mum and my dad and will light up their lives with a light for each of them.  Although they are not here with us they will never be forgotten and are always close in our hearts ”

The service will be held in the hospice gardens on Sunday 2nd December at 5.30pm.  The carol service is free to attend and all are welcome to come along to remember their loved ones.  For each light that is sponsored your loved one’s name will be included in the books of honour and you will receive a Light up a Life card in their memory.  The books will be on display in the hospice from 4pm on 2nd December and will remain on display throughout the Christmas period.

Web squareFor a suggested minimum donation of £5 per light you can sponsor a Light in memory of a loved one. Light up a Life keepsake tree decorations are available for a donation from £3.00 (including postage).  To donate to the campaign please call 0151 343 0778 or visit to make a donation online.

We also invite Businesses to sponsor a light from £50.00. All businesses will be included in the event programme and in the books of honour.

Julia Evans, Fundraising Manager said “I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported Light up a Life over the past 22 years.  Our lights can be sponsored in memory of your loved one whether you have a connection to the Hospice or not. Each light represents someone special who is loved and remembered.”