"When Dad arrived at hospital after collapsing at home, his body was already shutting down. The cancer, which had spread from his liver, was causing his body to experience septic shock. We would spend the next 24 hours wondering if Dad would recover - he never did. During that time, nursing staff in intensive care did everything they could to make us feel supported.
"16 members of Dad’s close family gathered at his bedside to reflect on his life, laugh and share memories. We’re a loud bunch, and would pass in and out of the unit to collect teas and coffees. Nursing staff let us come and go as we pleased, moving equipment to make us more comfortable, and even popping in at the end of their shifts to see how we were getting on – you never forget things like that.
"David and Charlotte, the nurses leading on Dad’s care, were truly amazing. To be able to do what they do every single day is remarkable. As Dad lay there unconscious, we would fire questions in their direction. They answered the best they could, putting us at ease at a very difficult moment.
"Although Dad was unresponsive, David would speak to him like any other patient, explaining what he was going to do and why. At three o’clock in the morning he reassured us that the machine would keep dad stable through the night, and that we could get some rest. By the morning it was clear that Dad wasn’t getting any better. The decision was made to turn Dad’s machine off and let him sleep.
"My father, Donald George Simpson, died peacefully, surrounded by his wife of 51 years, his children, grandchildren and brothers. As a very close family, it meant the world to us to be there together, to watch Dad take his last breath.
"The care and compassion shown by the nursing staff has helped us all come to terms with his passing. There were no ‘if onlys’ – Dad received outstanding care and everything was done to keep him alive.
"I remember asking if I could keep Dad’s I.D bracelet. Charlotte explained that it was still needed after his passing so she went out of her way to print another for me. Gestures like this inspired us to ask for donations to the ICU at Dad’s funeral. We raised an epic £500 which was split between staffing and equipment, after all, you can’t have one without the other.
"Since then, we have continued to fundraise in Dad’s memory and recently collected £2,200 which we hope will allow the nursing team to offer to same, incredible support to other families in need."