Mike Lauriello has experienced first-hand the ‘exceptional’ care families receive at Severn Hospice after the two people closest to him were looked after by us.
His wife of 34 years, Suzanne, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and underwent extensive surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
She was told her cancer was incurable and died in January 2016.
Just two years later, Mike lost his neighbour and best friend Eric Anderson, who died in February last year after receiving treatment for pancreatic cancer.
He says he misses them both every day.
“Suzanne was also the life and soul of the party, with an infectious laugh,” said Mike. “I was 21 when I married her. She worked for the NHS and was a wonderful wife and mother to our two children.
“I think about her and miss her every day – I still can’t believe she’s not here. She was my best friend.
“Eric was my wingman, my partner in crime and university buddy. He took care of me through my darkest days and was an extra brother. My life is better for having known him.
“He asked to be buried by Suzanne and we often picture them having a party together.”
Father-of-two Mike, from Telford, also has a palliative cancer diagnosis and used to go for chemotherapy together with Suzanne before she died.
He says the care they received was ‘second-to-none’ and wants to give something back to ensure the hospice can be there for future families who need our support.
The special moments he spent with his wife Suzanne and friend Eric have inspired him to become an ambassador for our brand new Forget Me Not Walk event.
“Suzanne demonstrated great courage and strength. Following majo
r surgery, I reluctantly decided for her to go to the hospice in late October 2015 as I could no longer care for her at home,” said Mike.
“It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made, but the right one. In the care of the angels at Severn Hospice, Suzanne perked up on arrival, remained strong, and surpassed all of our expectations.
“Along with weekly use of the wonderful day centre, she benefited from one hundred days of residential care at the Telford hospice, thanks to the generosity of others.”
Our Forget Me Not Walk is taking place on Sunday 19 May at The Quarry in Shrewsbury.
The emotional event will give those taking part the chance to remember loved ones while supporting our work.
Mike added: “The love, care and attention we received was exceptional. I’ll fondly remember the comfort staff provided and sitting with the nurses having midnight chats.
“We believe it to be a fitting tribute to Suzanne and the hospice that we in some way give something back into an organisation that supported us unconditionally.”
The event will start at 11am and entry costs £15 for adults, £5 for a child under 15 while children under five go free. A family ticket (two adults and two children) is £35.
To join Mike and our other event ambassadors at the Forget Me Not Walk on Sunday 19 May click here.