Caroline Tyler

Before I share my story as to why I am doing this, let me start by saying I am utterly terrified. I hate heights. The thought of it makes my blood run cold and in all honesty when I get up there I pray I have the courage and determination to do it. Thank you in advance 💜.......

One day each week, I put on my purple uniform and walk into our local acute hospital. I volunteer at Lister Hospital as a Butterfly Volunteer and am proud to be part of an incredible team of specially trained volunteers.

We come from a wide variety of backgrounds and each of us finds our own peace with the experience of what it is to sit alongside someone who is dying. You might wonder what we do?..... some of us read to our patients, one sings, some share poetry readings and my preference is sitting in silence, using gentle touch.

It isn’t a role I ever envisaged for myself, let alone choosing to spend time with poorly people in hospital. It’s funny how people try to avoid the use of the ‘D’ word, even me sometimes! as saying it aloud might sound too brutal for a struggling family member or friend. But the reality of it is that our patients are dying, they are actively progressing towards death.

The patients on my list are anticipated to be within 48 hours of death. There are no rules when it comes to dying, only medical indicators and subtle signs we recognise. But patients often have their own drive to stay longer and do.

Our service relies on co-operation and mutual respect within the hospital. Obviously it relies on the time we as volunteers devote to the role, but blending our desire to support, with the needs of the hospital service is down to our wonderful Co-ordinator Angela Fenn.

She has been an integral part of the hospital for many years and brings her knowledge and experience to the role of Co-ordinator. We affectionately call her our Butterfly ‘mum’ and what I love the most is that she’s as passionate and devoted to the service as we are.

The money we fundraise goes towards enhancing the patient experience and paying Angela’s salary. Initially she was funded by a medical charity but that money doesn’t cover it all and more importantly it runs out in a little over a year. We simply cannot run without our Co-ordinator!

Please help us by donating to my fundraiser.... and did I mention I’m terrified of heights? And it’s 12 floors up 😱

Caroline Tyler