Megan Bassett, from Bexley, Kent, will be taking part in a five-day trek in the Sahara Desert in November 2024 to raise vital funds for Greenwich & Bexley Hospice. Megan says the care the hospice team gave her granddad Ted in the last few months of his life made an incredible difference to him and his loved ones. Ted was 72 when he sadly passed away in early 2009, and here Megan explains why it is now so important to her to help give other families the wealth of support the community hospice offers.

“My granddad Ted had the biggest heart – he was always doing things for other people,” Megan says. “I have such fond memories of spending time with him growing up.

“Fishing was his big love – apart from his family – and he’d take my brothers and I to a local nature reserve, Foots Cray Meadows, and in later years to Dartford Lakes. I remember once my youngest brother Daniel getting his fishing line caught in a tree above us, and Granddad spending ages patiently untangling it and then recasting it for him.

“Granddad was brilliant with his hands. He worked on the production line for car manufacturer Ford and was always in his garage tinkering with mechanics.

“He met my nan, Dot at a dancing club and they had a very happy marriage. They loved travelling and went on holiday to Spain and Mexico. Granddad was always pretty healthy and on the go, so it was a shock when he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008.”

Ted’s illness caused his condition to deteriorate rapidly, and tragically he died just three months later in January 2009. Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice was involved with Ted’s care throughout that time, at first supporting Dot and Megan’s mum Ruth to care for him at home. Ted was then admitted to the Inpatient Unit where he spent his last few days with his family at his bedside.

Megan explains: “Near the end, Granddad needed round the clock care and the incredible hospice staff made things easier. They were all so lovely and Mum and Nan could focus on making those last memories with him which was very important.

“Having that guiding hand from people who were so experienced made all the difference when it was most needed. Nothing was too much to ask for and Granddad’s loved ones knew they weren’t alone.

“When Mum and Nan went to say goodbye to Granddad everyone was incredibly kind.”

Megan says she still finds it very hard to talk about Ted’s last few weeks and months, but what is reassuring is the knowledge that the hospice is always there if you need them.

“Recently I’ve had two close schoolfriends each lose one of their parents who received amazing care from the hospice. It has only reinforced for me the importance of what they do, which is why it’s so important for me to give something back to an organisation that does so much to help local people.”

In June 2020, Megan raised more than £1,100 for the hospice by cycling 500km in just four weeks. And later this year she’s heading to the Sahara desert where she’ll be trekking by day and camping under the stars at night in a bid to raise a further £950.

“Everyone should have the option to be cared for by a hospice if they need it. Our hospice gave Granddad the option to be cared for at home, and then in the peace of the hospice during his last few days.

“But the hospice relies on donations to continue to be able to care at the highest level.

“Knowing that the hospice was supporting his wife when she was struggling would have meant so much to Granddad, and in turn that means a lot to me. I’ll never forget what they did for us.”

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