Local raises funds for hospital family room in son’s memory

by Rebecca Ryan
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James Gill’s last wish was to open a hospital family roomJames Gill’s last wish was to open a hospital family room

A Ballinteer woman helped fundraise for a new family room in Our Lady’s Ward in the Mater Hospital which opened on Monday.

The new room will be a place of comfort for patients and their families. It includes a kitchenette, sofas and a bed for loved ones to stay.

Speaking on the opening of the family room, CEO of The Mater Foundation Mary Moorhead told Dublin Gazette:

“End of life care is one of the most sensitive areas for the hospital.

“We want to make sure that they have a place of privacy and dignity, where families can spend time with their loved one in those most difficult last few hours.

“We are extremely grateful for the amazing generosity of Geraldine, Declan and everyone who has supported the James Gill Memorial Trust, without whom the family room on Our Lady’s ward would not have been possible. What has been achieved in James’s memory is truly inspiring and so many families from around the country will now benefit from this new family room,” added Ms Moorhead.

Local woman Geraldine Gill and her family helped to raise funds for the new family room in memory of her son.

She lost her son James (20) to a rare form of cancer in 2013. He was a kind young man who always lived life to the full.

During Christmas 2010, when James was 17 years old, he felt he was coming down with the flu.

It was so bad the family took him to Tallaght hospital. Two days later, the family got the news that their son had a rare form of cancer, Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

At the end of 2012, the family got news that the only way that James might beat cancer was to travel to America where they could try treatment.

His doctors asked about getting funding from the HSE, but when they heard they couldn’t get the funds, the  family decided to raise the €80,000 themselves.

Buckets of support came in from family, friends and the local community.

To thank people for all they had done, James had one wish. He wanted any money left over from the fund to go toward opening a small space in the hospital where patients could chill out with family and friends.

As they were getting the paperwork in place for the trip, his health took a turn. On May 18th 2013, James sadly passed away.

The Gill family at the opening of the family room in Our Lady's Ward at The Mater Hospital

The Gill family at the opening of the family room in Our Lady’s Ward at The Mater Hospital

The Gill family used the funds to help open the new family room, and another one in St. Vincent’s in June 2014. Funds also went towards equipment in Sligo hospital.

Geraldine said the family rooms are going to bring comfort to people: “Even at night when patients can’t sleep because they’re worried and they don’t want to wake anyone up, it’s just a lovely room to go in, make a cup of tea, as if you’re at home.”

Geraldine said she will continue to fundraise in James’ memory.

She is also running the VHI mini marathon this weekend with her husband for the James Gill Memorial Trust.

To find out more about the work they are doing, you can find them on www.facebook.com/jamesgillmemorialtrust


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