A Wigan widow is turning her anguish into kindness by providing hospital patients with essential hygiene products.
Celli Taylor from Worsley Hall has set up Claire’s Caring Comforts in memory of her wife Claire (nee Farrimond), who died after undergoing a heart transplant.
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Claire, 34, died in September 2017 after she battled numerous infections for months following the gruelling operation, which gave her only a one in three chance of survival due to previous procedures.
She had suffered with hypoplastic left heart syndrome all of her life, meaning that the left side of her heart was non-existent.
As her health deteriorated, 39-year-old Celli spent months at Newcastle Freeman Hospital, where Claire received her transplant and where the pair married just months before her death.
As a way of giving back to the hospital and also in a bid to other patients of long-term illnesses, Celli has started to hand out packs of personal hygiene products for those who are limited to their wards.
“When a loved one is in hospital, especially for those in transplant units, you just don’t have time to get anything sorted,” said Celli.
“You don’t want to go away from them for any length of time, and even more so if they are really poorly.
“When Claire was ill I was up there for two months with no mode of transport or anything.
“It did get stressful when we were running out of shampoo or personal hygiene products like that.
“We also met a family from Bristol, for example, if they couldn’t get up then the patient could be isolated without anything.
“I have started putting these packs together to take a bit of the stress away from the patients and from their families.
“When you are in hospital for a long period of time, even having a shower can make you feel a bit better.”
Claire’s Caring Comfort packages, which include shampoo, body wash or soap, flannels, combs, razors, shaving foam/gel, body spray/ roll ons, toothbrush, toothpaste, nail files and sanitary pads, have already been distributed to hundreds of patients in Newcastle, Manchester and Liverpool.
Thanks to “incredible” support from her auntie, Carol Winnard, Celli is also hoping to distribute the care packages to patients in Wigan hospital wards.
At the moment Celli is looking for donations to help her reach patients across the borough and ultimately across the UK.
“They are going down really well so far,” said Celli. “We want to become a charity but you have to have £5,000 in the bank.
“I really want to keep this going. As well as helping others it has made things a bit easier for me as well.”
In the past, Celli has spoken out about the grief she has felt losing her “soulmate” Claire in an attempt to raise awareness of organ donation.
The couple met in 2004 at Manchester Pride, but it was not until five years later that they officially became an item. They would have been celebrating their ninth anniversary this year.
To donate to Claire’s Caring Comforts visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/clairescaringcomforts