Marie Curie is the UK’s leading end of life charity, supporting people living with any terminal illness – whether this is cancer, Motor Neurone Disease or Alzheimer’s. In 2018-2019, we helped over 50,000 people. We provide frontline nursing and hospice care, a free support line and a wealth of information and support on all aspects of dying, death and bereavement. Our leading research pushes the boundaries of what we know about good end of life, and our campaigns fight for a world where everyone gets to have the best experience possible at the end of their lives.

If 2020 has taught us one thing, it’s that there’s only one chance to get death right. To have the chance to prepare and to say your goodbyes. To remain yourself, to feel safe. We’ve learned how, when it’s not right, the repercussions can last a lifetime.

Syncona is helping us support people like Brian and his daughter Charlotte

“All the worry and stress fell away from her.”

Brian’s daughter Charlotte was cared for at the Marie Curie Hospice, Bradford. Brian is now a volunteer gardener at the hospice.

“When we used to come the nurses always had a tray of biscuits ready. They’d have the heater on already in the room, so it was nice and warm when we got in. Charlotte used to get straight in her bed, and all the worry and stress fell away from her. It was like we were back home. Charlotte had a thing about perfumes. Sometimes she’d spend £100 per bottle, so the nurses always kept diffusers in her room to keep it smelling nice.”

Our care is more important than ever

The pandemic has put an unprecedented strain and has had far-reaching impacts across the healthcare system. Due to disengagement with usual health and social care services, more people are likely to enter the terminal phase of their illness sooner. Since the start of lockdown, over one million people in the UK have experienced a bereavement.

The Syncona Foundation is helping us adapt

The Syncona Foundation has been critical in equipping us with the ability to respond to emergencies. By allowing us to use donations flexibly, our frontline services have been able to respond quickly and effectively to the pandemic. 

Your gifts also allow us to innovate and adapt to ensure we’re still able to support people affected by terminal illness across the UK. For example, we have transitioned our befriending service to a digitalised platform. Our researchers have focused on understanding the impact of coronavirus, leading studies on staff experiences of providing care via phone and video chat.

Looking to the future

In the UK, the number of people aged 85+ is set to double to 3.2 million by 2041, so more and more people are going to need good end of life care and support. Your long term, committed support, gives us the confidence to plan for the future.

Thank you to everyone involved with Syncona for helping us be there for people living with a terminal illness, and their families.