Trinity supporter, Sharon, is holding a Black and White Ball on Thursday 28 December 2019, in memory of her sister, Joyslin.  She held a similar event in 2017, which raised over £2,000 for Trinity. We spoke to Sharon about why she has decided to hold this event again and her motivation to champion our work.

“After my first-hand experience of the effects of the sterling work that Trinity does, I feel that anything I can do to raise funds to help support them, as well as spreading the word about them to encourage others to do the same, I will do.

My beloved sister, Joyslin, had a caring way about her and was always the one who looked out for others. She was loyal and loving with a great sense of humour and an infectious laugh. Although she never had any children, she showed that she would have made an excellent mother in her interactions with her nieces, nephews and her many godchildren. Joyslin’s was a life that should have been long and fruitful. But it was not to be. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 heralding the start of a long and hard fought war. She had appeared to be the victor and was told that she was in remission in 2014. Unfortunately, as happens all too often, two years later this insidious disease reared its ugly head and once again, Joyslin prepared to go into battle. This time, the outcome did not go our way and we had to face the inevitable.

A common view of hospices is that they are just places that you go into and never come out. Trinity is not this; Joyslin’s experience at Trinity taught me that it is a place that enables you to live what time you have left to the fullest.

Initially, Joyslin was apprehensive about going to Trinity, but was convinced by Isatta Clinical Nurse Specialist in Palliative Care that she needed special care and attention and that Trinity could provide this as well as supporting her family. There was, indeed, a very supportive team around her from the nurses and doctors to the physiotherapy department. Joyslin developed a close relationship with her team and soon became at ease: she didn’t seem as fearful of what was to come. There were times I witnessed her strength fading but the team was always at hand to support her and help her along.

Alongside the excellent medical care, it was the little things that mattered such as Ruby (a ward volunteer at Trinity) patiently coaxing Joyslin to eat when she’d lost her appetite; these small things that made a massive difference not just to Joyslin but to us her family, as well.

She later informed her team of her last request, to attend the wedding of my daughter, her niece and goddaughter. She gave it her all - no matter what the doctors told her, she was never going to give up. She was determined to watch her beloved goddaughter get married and nothing was going to stop her. And nothing did stop her. The morning of the wedding the team at Trinity assisted in dressing her, she later walked down the aisle ahead of the bride with her head held high, pride shining from every fibre of her being.

After the wedding, she picked up her armour and her weapons of strength and determination and continued her assault on the invader in her body. Sadly, it was not to be. She left this life, peacefully, on Friday 11 May 2018. She was surrounded by her family and friends and the knowledge that she was truly and deeply loved. To say that she will be missed is an understatement of the highest proportions. Her passing is an indescribable loss to those who were blessed to have had this amazing woman in their life.

Trinity contacted me after her passing to offer their condolence and support. My family and I were invited to attend a family day where we met other families in similar positions. We were informed that most of Trinity’s funding comes from donations; this is required for them to continue their great work. Trinity is not just a hospice but a place where families can come together and get the support they need. I decided that I wanted to be part of the Trinity family and that I would support them in any way I could.

The Black and White Ball is not just about cancer or my sister, it’s about the people at Trinity, it is about the care and hope we received there. People at Trinity, like Ruby and Isatta, made my sister’s end of life so amazing! I like the fact that Trinity are very much a family and they hold events where families can come along, where people who are going through the same thing can come together.

 This ball is about Trinity, about how special they are and how much we want to support them.

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