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25 Sep 2020 Care

“I had that precious time being his wife”

This summer, Jeannette Marsh and her granddaughter Daisy took part in The Kirkwood Sunflower Memories Appeal in loving memory of her husband Tony Marsh, who was cared for by The Kirkwood team towards the end of his life back in 2014.

The Sunflower Memories Appeal is a beautiful way to celebrate the life of a loved one each summer. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, this year’s campaign was held in a slightly different way, with participants remembering loved ones right from their own gardens.

Jeannette Marsh, who lives in Honley, took part in The Kirkwood Sunflower Memories Appeal for the first time this year, to remember her husband, Tony Marsh. Tony and Jeannette Marsh married on the 13th September 1986, a wonderful day 34 years ago, and have two children, Katie and Ryan, along with 6-year-old granddaughter, Daisy.

Jeannette and Tony on their 25th wedding anniversary with Katie and Ryan


Tony was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour (Glioblastoma) in 2011 and in time, The Kirkwood became a strong support system for the family towards the end of his life.

Jeannette reflects on her experience with The Kirkwood: “We knew of The Kirkwood before Tony got ill because my dad passed away at The Kirkwood Hospice in 2005, so I’ve been involved with the charity for a long time.

“Tony became ill in 2011, but we didn’t access the services for a number of years. In 2013, we started attending Support & Therapy Day Centre [now Drop-In] on a Friday for a coffee and to access the Complementary Therapies on offer, both he and I used the therapies.

“Tony’s brain tumour, whilst it didn’t affect him mentally, affected him physically. He was a very good athlete and an extremely fit healthy person, the tumour and medication just ravaged his body and he slowly deteriorated. He really liked having a bath, and because he wasn’t able to get into our bath we at home, whilst we were at the hospice on a Friday he would go in the big bath on the In-Patient Unit. It was great.”

Tony proudly carrying the Olympic Torch


Over time, Tony began attending The Kirkwood Support & Therapy Centre on a Tuesday in addition to his weekly visit on a Friday. Jeannette works at a school local to the hospice and would pop round for her lunch and to spend some much needed quality time with her husband.

“Towards the end of Tony’s life, he was admitted onto the In-Patient Unit for just under three weeks, to help get his medication sorted and his symptoms under control. I stayed over with him the majority of the time and the Occupational Therapists at The Kirkwood got everything in place at home ready for him to return. Sadly, he was only at home for four days before he passed away.”

Tony sadly died on the 2nd June 2014, aged just 54, at home with his loved ones.

Throughout Tony’s stay on the In-Patient Unit, they created memories they will never forget. Jeannette continues: “Whilst he was at The Kirkwood Hospice, our granddaughter Daisy was born over four weeks early. It was meant to be. My Daughter, Katie, gave Tony some choices and let him pick Daisy’s name. The Kirkwood arranged for suitable transport to enable Tony and I visit to Katie and our new granddaughter Daisy the day after she was born whilst they were both still in hospital. On the way home from the hospital, Kirkwood was the first place that Daisy visited so Tony could have some more cuddles with our new granddaughter.

Tony and Daisy sharing a special moment together


“We are really thankful of the support that The Kirkwood provided us with at the end of Tony’s life. It allowed me to be his wife again, not his carer, as The Kirkwood staff did all his personal care. I had that precious time being his wife.”

Over the last six years, Jeannette has continued to support The Kirkwood in any way she can, as a thank you for the support. Jeannette, Katie and Ryan organise the Anthony Marsh Tribute Trail walk/run every December for Tony’s friends and family to come together and fundraise in his memory doing something Tony enjoyed.

“I try and fundraise for The Kirkwood every year. This is the first year that we’ve taken part in the Sunflower Memories Appeal, it’s a good opportunity to donate funds. We like doing outdoor things and it was great for me and Daisy to do something together.”

Daisy and their sunflower


Jeannette and Daisy spent an afternoon one day planting the sunflower seeds together and over time, watched them grow taller than Daisy herself!

This year’s Sunflower Memories Appeal has come to an end, but there are many ways for you to remember a loved one with The Kirkwood. The annual Life up a Life Appeal will soon be launching this autumn.

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