Wigan husband will honour 'soulmate' wife at charity's moving Light for a Life ceremony
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Kevin Jones, 49, is sharing wife Louise’s story as Wigan and Leigh Hospice launches Light for a Life, when families are invited to make dedications in memory of their loved ones.
Louise was admitted to the Hindley-based charity in April this year and spent the last weeks of her life there, before dying on May 16.
Kevin, from Winstanley, said: “Louise was my wife, my soulmate and most of all, she was my best friend.
“We spent the last weeks of Louise’s life living at the hospice. On sunny days we sat outside in the garden, chatting together and enjoying the never-ending supply of tea and biscuits the nurses and volunteers gave us.
“The staff spent time chatting and joking around with us. They brought lightness to the situation which made us feel so at ease. And when they heard about Mylo – Louise’s companion dog – they insisted we bring him into the hospice. Having him up on the bed for Louise to cuddle was so lovely.”
Just a year after getting married, Louise was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2004, aged 26.
Over 18 years she had several operations, bouts of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and numerous hospital visits.
She carried on working until 2019 and completed a business degree while recovering from multiple surgeries.
Kevin said: “Louise had a couple of different jobs throughout her working life, mostly as office administrators. When we first met she worked for Woodward’s Trucks in Wigan followed by ICL in Warrington. From there she moved to the Department for Work and Pensions, where she stayed until she retired on ill health grounds in 2019.
“Louise was a tremendously loving and proud mother – she raised and supported our son Jacob in everything he did, despite the struggles she was going through. She would take him to karate, then guitar lessons and for many years transport him backwards and forwards to Wigan Little Theatre, where he was a member. Her help and involvement with this led Jacob to such a love of drama and theatre that it led on to him completing a degree in drama and he has just started teacher training at Manchester Metropolitan University.”
It was when Louise collapsed in the gym in 2004 that she was diagnosed with a brain tumour and had surgery.
However, in 2006 it was found the tumour had grown back, so she had more surgery and a course of radiotherapy.
During her recovery Louise studied business and information technology at Liverpool Hope University, graduating in July 2008.
Afterwards Louise had 10 years of stable scan results, but in 2016 the tumour had started to change so she had further surgery, followed by another when a scan in November 2017 showed yet more changes.
Kevin said: “Afterwards Louise was temporarily paralysed down her right side. She remained in hospital for 40 days, where they slowly helped her to learn to walk again and use her right side of her body. She never fully regained the use of her right arm and then underwent a 12-month course of chemotherapy.
“It was at this time that Louise first received help from the staff at the hospice as an outpatient. Louise had help from physiotherapists and occupational therapists at home, as well as also coming into the hospice for acupuncture, which helped her greatly.”
On December 21, 2021 Louise had a seizure and was admitted to hospital.
Her tumour had changed and she had her fifth surgery on January 25, then started chemotherapy a month later.
Not long afterwards, Louise suffered a bleed on her brain and was admitted to Royal Liverpool Hospital, until she moved to the hospice on April 4.
Kevin and Jacob made a donation of £905 to the hospice in memory of Louise following a collection at her funeral.
Kevin plans to return to the charity later this year for its Light for a Life ceremony, which will be held on Tuesday, December 6 from 6.30pm.
It is the first time the moving tribute has been held in person in three years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Everyone is welcome to attend the 30-minute ceremony held in remembrance of people loved and lost.
Kevin said: “For me, the Light for a Life event in the hospice grounds is particularly meaningful because it’s around the same time of year that my mum passed away. Watching the tree being lit up, with the band playing in the background, is something special. And it’s always lovely to walk around the beautiful gardens and catch up with old friends.
“This year is going to be even more special, as I’ll be there in honour of Louise and mum, remembering all the great times we shared.
“I can’t thank Wigan and Leigh Hospice enough for what they’ve done for my family. This year, I hope that more people come together to show their support for a hospice that’s so special within our community.”
Sophie Cannon, fund-raising manager at the hospice, said: “We are delighted to once again be able to invite people to the hospice to be together for the dedication of our Light for a Life tree.
“Light for a Life is a special fund-raising appeal for us. It is an opportunity to keep memories of loved ones alive and, by making a dedication in their honour, they are helping others going through one of the toughest times in their lives.”
Light for a Life runs until the 12th day after Christmas. Up until then, anyone can make a dedication.