Sweet help for Mercy Hospice

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By LAU­REN PRIESTLEY

Pro­lific cake-buyer Wil­liam Rainger says giv­ing is a two-way street.

The 80-year-old lost his wife Julie to cancer in 2000.

He says the cou­ple re­ceived phe­nom­e­nal sup­port from Mercy Hospice and now it’s his turn to give back.

In the years since Julie’s death he’s bought more than 100 Christ­mas cakes from the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

It kills two birds with one stone, he says.

‘‘What a won­der­ful way to give to the hospice but also to my own fam­ily.

‘‘I can’t say words high enough for the hospice.

‘‘It was such a very dif­fi­cult time know­ing things wouldn’t get bet­ter – it just made life eas­ier hav­ing them there.’’

Mr Rainger and his wife met while work­ing in Hong Kong in the 1950s and they were mar­ried in 1959.

They re­turned to New Zealand to raise their three chil­dren.

Julie was di­ag­nosed with cancer in the late 1990s and went into re­mis­sion af­ter chemo­ther­apy.

The fam­ily thought she had beaten it, Mr Rainger says.

‘‘I can re­mem­ber my son say­ing ‘You’re a mir­a­cle, mum. You’re healed’. ‘‘But af­ter a while it came back.’’ When she was no longer able to get out of bed Mr Rainger con­tacted Mercy Hospice.

The nurses vis­ited the house reg­u­larly to help Mrs Rainger and make ev­ery­day life eas­ier for her fam­ily.

She stayed at the hospice in­pa­tient unit in the last two weeks of her life.

‘‘I was fairly strong when Julie died – I didn’t need any­thing for my­self. ‘‘In the end it was a happy re­lief.’’ He says the cou­ple lived a very ac­tive life and sur­rounded them­selves with sport, friends and fam­ily.

Mr Rainger was work­ing full­time un­til the end of last year and is the long­est-serv­ing em­ployee in the New Zealand in­sur­ance in­dus­try, he says.

‘‘I’ve al­ways been ac­tive. I’ve had a pretty lucky and full life.’’

Mercy Hospice spokesman Lin­coln Davies says it is sup­port­ers like Mr Rainger that keep the or­gan­i­sa­tion go­ing.

Hospice’s ser­vices are ex­pand­ing as the Auck­land pop­u­la­tion grows, he says. Last year the or­gan­i­sa­tion hit 1000 re­fer­rals for the first time.

‘‘It’s a sad fact that peo­ple al­ways die. The work will al­ways be there.

‘‘It’s just lucky we have such great vol­un­teers like Wil­liam,’’ he says.

Mercy Hospice Christ­mas cakes can be or­dered on­line un­til Novem­ber 25.

Pro­ceeds from the sales go to Mercy Hospice Auck­land and help to pro­vide free sup­port and care to pa­tients deal­ing with life-lim­it­ing ill­nesses and their fam­i­lies.

Photo: LAU­REN PRIESTLEY

Giv­ing back:

Wil­liam Rainger says Mercy Hospice made his wife’s fi­nal days bet­ter.

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