My Sunflower Story

Date Published: 5th July 2019

Every sunflower has a story

The Sunflower – a symbol of hospice care. A symbol of support for your hospice. Here Anne Hall, shares why she wears her sunflower and what it means to be a Nurse at Teesside Hospice... 

"My family and friends often ask me how I can work in a hospice; “it must be so sad, I couldn’t cope”, they say. My experience is very different. Of course there are sad moments, but Teesside Hospice is a very happy place full of laughter and positivity and an atmosphere like no other.

Many of our patients will have been with us in the Inpatient Unit for some time, and we will have built up a relationship with both them and their families, to some this may be their first experience of the hospice environment. Walking through the doors as a patient or relative for the first time can be a frightening and daunting experience, filled with emotion. To many this signifies that the end of their, or their loved ones, life is getting near, and has now become reality. Others are overwhelmed with symptoms that have taken over their lives. Families can feel that they have let their loved one down, that they have failed in caring for them at home. Many feel relief that they now have support.

It is our job to quickly assess the situation at hand and act appropriately. Looking after the patient and their families in a holistic way is paramount, remembering that everyone has their story to tell and everyone has their own way of coping with that story.

Listening is one of the most important skills to have as a nurse, alongside empathy and compassion. We aim to address both the physical and emotional needs of our patient using these skills. We guide our patient and their families, opening up conversations that are often burdening thoughts. Helping with memory boxes, and planning for their future, however short, can help them to regain some control in their lives.

Sometimes we will have only just met a patient for the first time at the beginning of a shift, and that day will be their last day. I am always proud that a family in this sad, emotional and personal time, trusts us enough to allow us to join them on this journey with them.

Every day provides a challenge, which is both exciting and rewarding, and we try to make every day matter for the patients in our care, finding out what is important to them, and if they have any wishes that we can help come true. Whether that’s bringing birthday celebrations forward, setting up visits from animals, celebrating special times of the year such as Christmas, or even arranging weddings. All of these things make the hospice a happy place, and one I am proud to be a part of."

Join us this Summer and support our Sunflower Appeal.

How can you support our Sunflower Appeal?

- Visit our Sunflower Memory Wall on Saltburn Pier, from 26th July - 26th August

- Purchase a beautiful, bespoke Sunflower for your garden or home

- Buy a sunflower pin badge to wear throughout the appeal (sold on Saltburn Pier)

- Your workplace or community group could stock pin badges to sell

- Volunteer to run door to door collections in your street 

For more information, please call our fundraising team on 01642 811145 or email

No matter how you support us, you are helping nurses like Anne, to care for local families living through the effects of a terminal illness. Thank you. 



Local college raises funds

Local college raises funds

On Friday 9th December, staff and students at Middlesbrough College will be putting on their w...


We don’t give up at the hospice

We don’t give up at the hospice

It was just like any other normal day when Ena noticed her clothes seemed to be too big. She h...


They took care of us all

They took care of us all

“At 85 years young Dad was fit, healthy and enjoying life surrounded by his family. When he wa...