When Gina - known affectionately as ‘Mama’ to her family - was admitted to St Wilfrid’s as an inpatient in October last year, one of her final wishes was to be there for the christening of Oscar, her new grandson.

Francesca, Gina’s daughter and mum to Oscar shares the family’s story:

‘Mama was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in May 2017 and was given a prognosis of two to six months after deciding not to continue with chemo in September 2018.

‘However, her condition started to deteriorate very rapidly, and so she was admitted to St Wilfrid’s as an inpatient at the beginning of October.

‘Religion is very important to our family. We are Roman Catholic and attended Mass growing up. We [Francesca and her partner, Ben] always wanted to get Oscar christened, even before he was born. 

‘As Mama’s condition grew worse and she lost her mobility, we asked if we could hold Oscar’s christening at the hospice so that she could be a part of this special occasion.

‘The staff at the hospice were fantastic and arranged the christening with just a few days’ notice.

‘Father Rory, from St George’s Church in Polegate, performed Oscar’s christening. He also conducted Mama’s funeral, which took place a couple of weeks later.

‘The team at St Wilfrid’s even sourced a bowl from a local church to use as a makeshift font!

‘Mama gave special praise to the catering at the christening; she was an Italian woman and formidable cook, so that really is saying a lot!

‘St Wilfrid’s helped to restore Mama’s pride - and her smile: the team at the hospice got her pain under control and she was set manageable goals.

‘She also enjoyed getting her hair cut at the hospice salon and looked forward to weekly meditation sessions. She particularly loved the reflexology treatments she had with Angie, who even taught me some massage techniques to use on Mama.

‘Mama was always a great organiser: whether it was family lunches, a party or celebration, but when it came to Oscar’s christening, she was given permission to relax and just spend time with the family; St Wilfrid’s organised everything for her.’