Thoughtful John swapped presents for the gift of life

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By Walsall Advertiser | Friday, October 12, 2012, 09:00

A GENEROUS Willenhall man swapped birthday presents for the gift of life, by asking friends and family to make generous donations to St Giles Walsall Hospice.

John Dudley, who turned 60 in August, asked for an alternative to the usual gifts and greetings, requesting that his loved ones make a contribution to the charity instead – raising nearly £500 in the process.

For John, it was a way to pay respect to late friends Janet Griffiths and Karen Sandford, who both received end-of-life care at the Goscote facility.

Now, both John and wife Roz, aged 52, are hoping to inspire others to take a similar approach in aid of the Advertiser's Helen's Appeal. Roz said: "When we were planning John's 60th birthday party in August, he said that donations from guests to St Giles Walsall Hospice would mean more to him than receiving presents.

"With this in mind, our friends and family contributed over £465 to help fund hospice care – and we are recommending it as a great way for other people to support Helen's Appeal.

"After the last year, we can't say enough in support of the hospice and we really hope people continue to help make a success of the Advertiser's campaign."

It was this year that the couple's close friends were treated at the hospice.

"When Janet was diagnosed with lung cancer, it came as a massive shock to everyone. She had never smoked and had always led a clean and healthy life," said Roz.

"John and I paid her a visit when she was in the hospice. Even though Janet was part of a big family, the nurses and volunteers were able to tend to all of her visitors' needs – nothing was ever too much trouble."

Then, the couple went through the same pain again after close friend Karen was diagnosed with cancer.

Roz added: "Once again we were amazed by the friendly nurses, helpful volunteers and the superb facilities there.

"We hope readers are prepared to join us in supporting Helen's Appeal."

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