Widow raises £6000 for Sue Ryder hospice with new campaign that allows to families to share grief despite COVID restrictions at funerals
A widow has been able to share her grief with family and friends despite COVID regulations following the death of her husband from cancer.
Dominic Hanbridge, 48, was diagnosed with stage 4 oesophageal cancer in August last year. He and his family were told that with treatment he had six to 12 months left to live. However, that time-scale ended up being just a fortnight as he had secondary bowel cancer and his condition deteriorated rapidly and he died in October.
His wife Jennie has since raised more than £6000 for Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice in Headingley where he husband was treated during his illness.
Charity Sue Ryder is helping those who are grieving pay tribute to loved ones with an Incredible Memories Fund which is an online tribute page that enables family members and
friends to share photos, memories, raise funds and light a virtual candle in celebration of someone’s life.
With only limited numbers allowed to attend funerals due to coronavirus regulations, it meant that the couple's wider circle of family and friends could send messages and share memories of the father of two who was a self-employed electrician by day but also known as 'Disco Dom' after spending many years as a DJ.
It also means that Jennie can keep these memories and show them to the children who are aged just three and seven.
She said: "‘One of the community fundraisers from Wheatfields suggested setting up the tribute page. I’m not very technical but I thought I would have a look and it was really easy to do. I put some photos on there and started telling family and friends and it went from there.
"One of Dom’s friends runs a local radio station in Ilkley, where Dom used to live, and he spread the word too. Dom knew so many people there and there were lovely comments from people who remembered him from school or parties he’d DJ’d at.
"As a tool the tribute page was really good because it allowed people to know the songs that we played at the funeral even if they couldn’t be there and people could light a virtual candle
for Dom. Under normal circumstances you would have a big funeral and wake and people would talk to you about their memories and maybe show you photos but we weren’t able to
do that so it was really nice to have a way of collecting those stories and photos from people who wanted to share their memories of Dom.’
"People I have not seen for a long time have left some lovely stories about Dom and that will be a nice thing for the children as they get older."
Dom first began to feel unwell in July 2020, after struggling to eat and drink, and was admitted to hospital on August 11. A week later he was told it was stage four oesophageal cancer and hoped that with treatment he would have anything from six to 12 months.
A round of chemotherapy left him feeling better for five days but he started going downhill again and Dom knew there was something else.
Mrs Hanbridge said: "‘Our six to 12 months then dropped to two weeks so we came home and just did what we could to get things sorted out as quickly as we could. Dom wanted to be at home and it was really good that he was able to be at home. Otherwise the children wouldn’t have seen him because of the Covid restrictions and we wouldn’t have had that time together."
With the support of the District Nurses, the Community team at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice and a Sue Ryder doctor, Dom was able to spend the last five weeks of his life at
home with his family.
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