Hospice hon­ey­moon

Auckland City Harbour News - - Front Page - By Fin­barr Bunting and Heather McCracken

THE DAY Don Kins­man learned he was dy­ing of can­cer, he asked his sweet­heart of five years to marry him.

The 62-year-old had been told doc­tors couldn’t do any more to stop the ag­gres­sive can­cer spread­ing from his chest.

Dawne says she ac­cepted with­out a sec­ond thought.

“We were in the carpark of the hospi­tal and he said ‘That’s not the best news, be­cause I was go­ing to ask you to marry me’,” she says.

The pair wed at a fam­ily mem­ber’s home on Fe­bru­ary 16, sur­rounded by friends and fam­ily.

But a planned hon­ey­moon in Ohakune had to be can­celled be­cause Don was too un­well.

He was ad­mit­ted to Mercy Hospice in Pon­sonby a week af­ter the wed­ding.

So staff stepped in to trans­form his ward­room into a ro­man­tic hon­ey­moon suite, with can­dles, flow­ers and choco­lates. “We had a feel­ing some­thing spe­cial was be­ing planned, and when we saw the room I just fell on the bed and cried,” Dawne says.

“It was a hugely spe­cial mo­ment and was ab­so­lutely amaz­ing.”

The cou­ple met 20 years ago while Dawne was work­ing at a real es­tate agency in Ep­som.

They be­came friends, and when Don moved to Aus­tralia, Dawne later fol­lowed to help with his busi­ness.

Don says they lived a “rather gypsy lifestyle”.

“When most peo­ple were mov­ing to Bondi Beach, I trav­elled around the world twice,” he says.

“But be­ing home, com­ing full cir­cle, it’s a great place to land.”

Don’s can­cer is in­cur­able, de­spite 30 ra­di­a­tion treat­ments and three op­er­a­tions on his back and arm.

The cou­ple say ev­ery staff mem­ber at Mercy is spe­cial, and has helped them through a try­ing time.

The hon­ey­moon suite “made Don happy, which is part of the heal­ing”, Dawne says.

Vol­un­teer co­or­di­na­tor Julie Reid says the cel­e­bra­tion was “one ex­am­ple of the ex­tra mile vol­un­teer staff go to help”.

The Pon­sonby hospice, opened last year, also pro­vides art-ther­apy ses­sions, a bi­og­ra­phy ser­vice for pa­tients, In­dian din­ners and even oc­ca­sion­ally wed­dings.

Cakes and flow­ers have been do­nated, and staff and vol­un­teers rally to make what may be a pa­tient’s fi­nal wish come true. Ms Reid says it’s about “cel­e­brat­ing life and mak­ing it spe­cial”.

Dawne, who has had pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence with hospice, says the ser­vice is still as won­der­ful as she re­mem­bers. “Hospi­tal is hospi­tal but the hospice is done with love.”

The cou­ple say to be fi­nally mar­ried has made them both very happy. — Fin­barr Bunting is an AUT jour­nal­ism stu­dent

New­ly­weds: Dawne and Don Kins­man were sur­prised with a hon­ey­moon suite at Mercy Hospice.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.