John and Roseanne Ferguson.
A Derry charity which provides end of life care has issued an emergency plea for public donations due to the coronavirus crisis.
Summer is traditionally a busy fundraising time for the Foyle Hospice, but virtually all its events have been cancelled due to the ongoing government restrictions.
The hospice charity shops, which are a key source of revenue, were closed for some time and are currently operating on reduced hours.
The Foyle Hospice has already been forced to close the Day Hospice and furlough a number of staff due to the crisis and a planned expansion of services is now at risk of being shelved as donations have plummeted due to the change in fundraising circumstances.
CEO of the Hospice, Donall Henderson says the charity 'needs ongoing support to make it through this crisis'.
“Foyle Hospice costs approximately £3.3 million to run a year with around £2.2 million coming from generous charitable donations and it is very likely that the shortfall by the end of the year will be significant.
"The Covid - 19 crisis has put a strain on everyone and charities will suffer lasting effects that will take their toll on the running costs for this year and maybe even next year.
"The boost from the local government was a welcome support, but was only enough to help us through the first few months of the pandemic.
"Now that the new normal is established we feel the negative effects of our cancelled fundraising events and that is why we are asking for your help. If we are going to make it through this crisis, we will need the ongoing support of our community.”
Foyle Hospice supports many families throughout the Northwest and during the crisis it has kept its doors open and continuously cared for patients.
John Ferguson, whose wife Roseanne is a Foyle Hospice patient, said the service provided is 'amazing and personal'.
“Unfortunately, until you are in Foyle Hospice and have to use it you don’t know what happens inside the buildings. It is amazing and personal.
"Roseanne has taken part in Day Hospice and their Integrated Clinic and has also stayed in their In-patient unit. It was support for the entire family, something I had not experienced before.
"When she stays at Foyle Hospice it is home away from home.
"Roseanne does not like being away from home but we know that our dog can visit her in hospice and the incredible view of the river is just so peaceful.
"Our experience has always been uplifting and we were surprised to learn that most people who go into the hospice are able to go home again.”
John and Roseanne's son, Father Chris Ferguson, completed the London Marathon to fundraise for Foyle Hospice and has been a keen ambassador throughout the years.
"It is local families who benefit from the services that Foyle Hospice provides and it is only with community support that Foyle Hospice can continue to deliver essential support and care to those who need it most," added Mr Henderson.
"Please consider donating to the emergency appeal, every penny helps."
Donations can be made at the Foyle Hospice website, via the Facebook page or to the fundraising team on 02871 359 888.
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