A Waterford man who has seen donations to his Bewley's Big Coffee Morning Social for Hospice quadruple since he moved the event outdoors, is gearing up to use 500 cups at his event on September 16.
As a family member of a long-established undertakers whose loved ones were helped by Hospice services, John Ryan says he has seen grief eased by the compassion and support services of care staff.
The 62-year-old from Lismore has raised over €30,000 from the coffee mornings in nine years, which he has split between Waterford Hospice Movement and Marymount University Hospital and Hospice in Cork.
In moving the fundraisers outside since Covid-19, John has found that donations have quadrupled as more people can now avail of a chat, cup of coffee and entertainment on a large green area in Lismore.
The hospice services are held dear by John, who witnessed how the care helped his mother Mary and two sisters-in-law Ber (Bernadette) and Jean in their final days.
Through helping out at the family undertakers, he has also heard families praise the services for helping their loved ones die with dignity and in comfortable surroundings.
"My mum died in 2013 from COPD in Marymount and I started the coffee mornings to give something back the following year," he said.
"I used to hold them in my house in South Mall where we raised about €1,400 each year but since we moved outdoors, we have been amassing donations of up to €5,000.
"There is more room for people to come and go or stay for the chats outdoors and we have music on the day for anyone to get up and dance or enjoy.
"The team that helps me each year is outstanding. I honestly don't know where all the cakes come from but they're always gone by 2pm.
"I find that despite the cost of living, no-one refuses donating to the hospice because death touches us all.
"My sister-in-law Ber was a cancer nurse but died at the age of 36 with breast cancer and my other sister-in-law Jean also received palliative care from Waterford Hospice Movement in her final days battling brain cancer.
"Seeing loved ones die is a real eye-opener. Your health is your wealth no matter what you have in life. Minding someone who is dying is psychologically and physically challenging when you don't have a trained team to support you and that hospice care can help those family members who need a break in all they are trying to do.
"The coffee morning will be held in Lismore (opposite St Carthage’s Cathedral), on Saturday, September 16 from 9am to 2pm and I'll also have a table set up especially for the families who have been recently bereaved, to just sit and reflect for as long as they want."
The nationwide event, supported by Bewley's since 1992, has raised over €43.2 million - and there is a €2 million fundraising target this year
Together for Hospice, The National Hospice Movement, represents 26 Hospice and specialist palliative home care providers supporting patients and their families.
Funds raised locally stay local and go back into each hospice to innovate, build new facilities, develop new services and deliver quality improvements and extra benefits for their patients and family members.
Register now to host a coffee morning on September 21 - or on a date that suits you - at hospicecoffeemorning.ie or call 0818 995 996. If you cannot host or attend one, you can make a donation at hospicecoffeemorning.ie/donate
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