Kim’s fundraising mission in memory of her dad
‘The family room is everything. It’s escapism; it’s where you go to break down, gain strength, breathe, and try to accept what’s going on and what’s going to happen.’
For Kim Henry, the family room on Hedley Atkins ward really was her everything during a very difficult time in her life. It’s where she lived for a week while her beloved dad, Derek Henry, was cared for in his final days.
During the long hours she spent there, Kim decided that something needed to happen to improve the environment.
So she did a very special thing. She set up a tribute website in memory of her dad, asking people to make donations towards the refurbishment of the room that she relied on so much.
Kim was in Italy on her honeymoon when she got a phone call saying that her dad was in hospital. She flew straight home and went directly to Guy’s and St Thomas’, where she was told by staff that there was nothing they could do for him except make him as comfortable as possible.
Following this devastating news, Kim spent every precious moment possible with her dad. When she wasn’t at his bedside, she was in the family room. Kim says that whilst it was a comfort to be able to use, it was also a pretty bleak place to be.
‘I was bored and lonely when everyone went home,’ she says. ‘Dad was too weak to talk so I would sit with him until 9pm, then go and settle down in the family room for the evening. I’d be alone in a darkened, quiet room with no warmth and the buzz of a loud generator. It was very hard to get comfortable and relax.
‘A family room should be warm, welcoming, cosy and friendly. Not sterile and clinical.’
Donations for Derek
Kim reached out to family and friends and asked them to honour her dad’s memory by making donations to Guy’s and St Thomas’, specifically to the Hedley Atkins ward. An amazing £1,745 was raised which has gone towards the refurbishment of the family room.
The room is now a brighter, airier, more welcoming space. The walls have been repainted and pictures have been hung, and a new television, magazine rack and recliner chair have been bought for some extra home comforts.