Losing someone you love one is one of the worst things that can happen. However sad it might be, sometimes, it can present some very positive opportunities too.

This couldn’t be truer for City Hospice volunteer, Kevin Mackenzie, from Cardiff who sadly lost his wife, Pearl, to cancer in 2013.

Before he was a volunteer, Kevin did various jobs, from a paperboy to coach builder to shop owner to driving for the police. He’d done a bit of everything in his life. Kevin and his wife, Pearl, worked together on market stalls and in shops and were a real dream team. Everything came to a head when they lost both sets of parents and were working seven days a week, not having any real time together. So, they decided to sell their shops and Kevin went to work as a driver in the police for 12 years.

Sadly, Kevin’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer so he decided to retire and they bought a place in Spain so they could enjoy each other’s company and lived there for two-and-a-half years.

“My wife became really poorly again so we had to move back and I got another job, this time at the Council. When she got really poorly again and we moved to Cardiff, the City Hospice nurses used to go and see Pearl and helped her so much. They were really nice.”

After Kevin’s wife passed away in October 2013, he waited for a year and then started volunteering with City Hospice in October 2014. He helps our Patient Driver, Steve, with picking up patients and bringing them to the hospice for appointments and the Day Centre. This means they can get out and about and have a cup of tea with people in a similar position. He also helps out in the Day Centre, entertaining patients and carers and putting smiles on their faces.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute and met some beautiful people. The patients, the staff, they’re all brilliant. The best part about volunteering on the van is that I get to hear people’s life stories and make people laugh. You can’t change what’s going to happen so you might as well enjoy things while you can.”

We are a registered charity at the heart of Cardiff, providing specialist medical, nursing and end of life care to patients in their own homes. Formerly George Thomas Hospice Care, we offer counselling (to adults and children), welfare benefits advice and day centres with a range of activities. We are the only at-home palliative care provider for the city of Cardiff and need to raise a total of £2m to keep providing these specialist services. It’s thanks to supporters and volunteers, like Kevin, that we can continue our vital work.

If you’ve lost a loved one, we encourage you to get involved in our Light Up a Life appeal. Write a dedication, make a donation and remember your loved one this Christmas. Find out more by visiting www.cityhospice.org.uk/Appeal/light-up-a-life-2018 or call 02920 524150.