Focus: Fundraising - Me and my charity

Janet Lawrence has been a volunteer fundraiser for Princess Alice Hospice in Esher since 2001. Her son, Richard, spent his last days there after being diagnosed with lung and liver cancer

How did you get involved with the charity?

My son, Richard, was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer in 2001. He was only 32 and very fit - he used to run marathons and rowed for Great Britain.

Following his diagnosis, he was told he had six to eight months to live, but he actually lived for only 16 weeks.

What do you like about the hospice?

Although it's full of desperately ill people, it doesn't feel like that - it is very peaceful. The hospice gave Richard back his dignity and it gave him back to us because they were able to control his pain. The people who work there are fantastic and I would give them everything I have got.

What have you done to raise money for the hospice?

I estimate that we have helped to raise about £30,000 for the charity.

We organise an annual golf day, which raised £5,000 last year. A lot of people who knew Richard come to our family saying they want to raise money for the hospice, and we get involved to help organise things. I am also the volunteer leader in the hospice shop.

What has the money you have raised paid for?

Richard's cancer spread everywhere and he was very uncomfortable, but when he went to the hospice he had this specially designed bed - he called me up to say he thought he had gone to heaven. It was the first time he had been comfortable. That's one of the things I wanted to raise money for first because each bed costs about £3,000.

I also specifically wanted to raise money for a syringe driver, which provides pain relief for cancer patients and costs about £800. I also wanted to get a trolley so I could take some of the things in the shop around the hospice for those who aren't able to get to the shop themselves.

Richard was a keen writer and we are using our own money to publish a book containing his work. All the proceeds will go to charity. It will be called Life on the Edge, because he was such an adrenaline junkie.

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