Richard Thurston’s wife Jackie was diagnosed with a rare type of sarcoma in 2018 and sadly passed away in October 2019, receiving support from City Hospice in her final weeks. Jackie and Richard had been together for 12 years and were parents to Megan (age 10) and Josie (age 5), and Richard’s older daughter, Ffion.
A much-loved wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend, Jackie was described as caring, loyal and well-liked by all that came to know her. A civil servant in the Welsh Government, Jackie was also a respected member of the Government Social Research Service.
However, in 2018, Jackie was sadly diagnosed with a rare type of sarcoma on returning from her honeymoon with husband Richard and their children. The couple had just celebrated their marriage after 11 years together, with their children, family and friends at the Grange pub in their native Cardiff.
Despite a series of operations, the aggressive form of cancer eventually spread throughout her body, and Jackie sadly passed away in October 2019.
A sign of her popularity, over 300 of Jackie’s friends, family and colleagues packed Thornhill Crematorium for her funeral. Her daughters made paper flowers for everyone to wear, with Jackie’s sisters and her brother producing a book of memories and photos, which is now a prized possession of the family.
Speaking about the family’s involvement with City Hospice following her diagnosis, Jackie’s husband Richard said: “Jackie had been referred to City Hospice by the lovely staff in the University Hospital Cardiff’s Gynaecology department a few weeks before she died.
“We were soon meeting the team there who went about supporting Jackie and myself and our children in the most brilliant of ways. All of them were so supportive, caring and dignified in the way they helped us, from the doctors and nurses, to the counsellors and welfare officers who helped us with finance and benefits.
“Many things that stand out from that experience: the doctor, Dr James Davies, and his secretary who between them advocated for Jackie’s case to be picked-up, tests to be followed-up and results to be explained with care and specialist knowledge; the wonderful bereavement counsellor, Sarah Bull, who spent so much time comforting Jackie and myself, and the support she provided for the children; for the children to know they were not alone and providing a space in the Hospice to meet other bereaved children and talk about their mum in a safe and loving environment; the gifts for the children and the Christmas party; and the time when one of the Hospice’s doctors sat on our bed and told Jackie and myself that she had days to live was so unspeakably painful, yet was done in such a caring way.
“Throughout all of these expressions of love and care, the Hospice staff took care of all aspects of our lives at such a difficult time. They were there to turn to for medical, emotional, financial support, and continue to offer that whenever needed.
“I will always be indebted to the Hospice and all the people that help run it and support it, including the volunteers and fundraisers. I have also been so humbled by the wonderful support that friends, family and the children’s school, Radnor Road Primary in Cardiff, have all shown in their donations and fundraising for the hospice. All of this has made me realise that one of City Hospice’s most important, yet undefined roles, was to allow and enable so many people to express their humanity so profoundly for Jackie and our family.
“During such a sad and difficult time, the knowledge of that love and support unconditionally provided at all times, stands out. I honestly don’t know how well we would have coped without it and the wonderful team at the Hospice.”
A donation made during our Light Up A Life campaign will make a world of difference to a family facing terminal illness in our community. To donate visit www.cityhospice.org.uk or call us on 02920 524150.