About us

Tribute fund to raise cash for end of life care room

08 June 2017


Southend Hospital’s palliative care team held information events during Dying Matters Week (8-14 May) to encourage patients, carers and the local community to talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement.

This proved to be the catalyst for Laura Braley, 45, to take positive action to deal with the loss of her husband Mark.

Mark was just 48 when he succumbed to pancreatic cancer in November 2016 and Laura vowed to create a tribute fund in Mark's name.

In conjunction with Southend Hospital Charity, the Mark Braley Tribute Fund was officially launched on 3 June at a private event held at Laura's home in Hadleigh where she was surrounded by her son Jack, 20, and family and friends. The fund aims to raise money for an End of Life (EOL) care room at Southend Hospital to help ease the pain and stress of others who will inevitably go through the same trauma of caring for and losing a loved one.

During his final weeks Mark was cared for in his home by both Laura and a palliative care team but, for some families, caring for a loved one at home is not a suitable option. This can be due to a variety of reasons such as lack of space for a hospital bed and machinery, or the patient and spouse being elderly and frail. Some families have young children at home and don't want them to experience this.

Laura admitted: "I can't even begin to imagine how it must feel to have to leave your loved one in hospital because there are no facilities provided for you to stay. Sitting in a plastic chair around a hospital bed with only the curtain for privacy isn't good enough."

This is where an EOL room can help as it provides comfort, privacy and dignity for the patient and their loved ones. It means someone can be with the patient at all times and there will be facilities for friends and families to use during their stay.

Laura added: "If we can provide a room which perhaps has a fold down bed, a comfy recliner chair, a tea and coffee station, a place where people can call 'home' for however long its needed, you are left with what really matters; being there for your loved ones. It will alleviate stress and if we can help just one family then, for me, Mark hasn't died in vain."

If you would like to donate to The Mark Braley Tribute Fund and help Southend Hospital create an End of Life care room, you can do so by visiting the official tribute fund page.