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