A kind and loving husband, father and colleague, Kris Olsen personified his favourite saying: ‘cream always rises to the top’. City Hospice provided specialist palliative care to Kris until he passed away in the summer of 2023, aged 43.
Described as an old soul, Kris was always well turned out and dressed smart for any occasion. He loved wearing flat caps, pocket watches and smart shoes wherever he went. He was a people person who loved spending time with his family and others; perfect for his work in pubs over the years and, more recently, as one to one support for high school students.
Five years ago, Kris had his appendix removed due to appendicitis. During what he thought would be a straightforward post op appointment, Kris was given the news that he had a rare cancer: pseudomyxoma peritonei.
Following a successful surgery to remove some of his bowel, Kris continued to live his life as normal. However, in August 2022, his cancer sadly returned.
Speaking about his diagnosis, his wife Amy said: “I noticed last summer that Kris’ stomach was getting bigger and that he had lost weight everywhere apart from his stomach. It was devastating to receive the news that his cancer was back and that it was at stage four.
“It hit me like a ton of bricks. Kris was more positive and helped me come to terms with it. He was selfless like that.”
Following his diagnosis, Kris and Amy made the decision to get married within a few days. The couple had been together 20 years and had originally planned to get married in August but brought all their plans forward by a few months.
They were granted a special licence from the bishop to get married so quickly, moved the ceremony to a smaller church in Birchgrove and their friends and family all got stuck in to organise dress alterations, a car, rings, and make a wedding cake and cupcakes so that the couple could enjoy their special day while Kris was on day release from the hospital.
City Hospice were initially introduced to Kris and Amy to organise pain management for Kris’ back pain. As Kris’ condition progressed, he was transferred to palliative care.
Amy said: “City Hospice helped Kris stay at home which was where he wanted to be. They sorted everything we needed from pain medication to arranging for a bed, sleeping and sitting aids to be delivered so he would be comfortable and not isolated when we had visitors.
“Our nurse Kath was incredible. She was so reassuring and answered any questions we had. Kris liked knowing that Kath was always there at the end of the phone, visiting us regularly and just how involved she was in his care.”
Following Kris’ death in early summer, City Hospice has continued to support Amy by providing specialist bereavement counselling to her at their community outreach hub in Ely and sons Max and Theo at their school.
Amy and her family took part in the charity’s Sparkle Walk in September and will unite with others in the community at Light up a Life remembrance events in the lead up to Christmas.
A donation made during the Light up a Life appeal will make a world of difference to a family facing terminal illness in the community. To donate, visit https://www.cityhospice.org.uk/star-in-the-sky/ or call 02920 524 150.