dame cicely saunders age, dame cicely saunders quotes you matter, dame cicely saunders facts
Dying with dignity, and in relative comfort, is something we all hope to be entitled to when the time comes. Dame Cicely Saunders is the brilliant woman responsible for the establishment of UK hospices which provide this service. She thereby helped establish the role of palliative care which, before her time, was not available on the NHS. Here’s what we know about this compassionate and courageous nurse, who is being honoured by Google with a Doodle on what would have been her 100th birthday. dame cicely saunders age, dame cicely saunders quotes you matter, dame cicely saunders facts
Dame Cicely Saunders was born on 22 June 1918 in Barnet, Hertfordshire. She decided to be a nurse midway through the Second World War in 1940, while she was studying a PPE at Oxford. By 1947 she had qualified as a medical social worker. A year later she fell in love with He was dying of cancer and bequeathed her £500 to be ‘a window in your home’. This donation helped form Dame Cicely’s idea to build and run St Christopher’s, the first hospice she established in 1967. Around the end of the 1940s Dame Cicely had converted to Christianity, and began working part-time at St Luke’s Home for the Dying Poor in Bayswater.
Her experiences there led her to study to become a physician and by 1957 she had an MBBS, beginning life as a practicing doctor. While working at St Joseph’s Hospice, a Catholic establishment in Hackney, she fell in love with another Polish man, who died shortly thereafter, in the same year as her father and another friend of hers. The grief she felt was overwhelming, and at this point she decided to dedicate her life to helping people at the end of theirs. dame cicely saunders age, dame cicely saunders quotes you matter, dame cicely saunders facts
Her thinking was that ‘as the body becomes weaker, so the spirit becomes stronger’. Two years after being awarded an OBE, Dame Cicely set-up the first ever purpose-built hospice St Christpher’s in 1967. The motto was: ‘You matter because you are you, and you matter until the end of your life. We will do all we can not only to help you die peacefully, but also live until you die.’ At the hospice, patients were not merely medically cared for, but were taken into the garden, visited by hairdressers and encouraged to socialise. dame cicely saunders age, dame cicely saunders quotes you matter, dame cicely saunders facts
The way music, performance and art was used to lift the quality of life of patients also went on to transform the way the NHS approached end-of-life care. Through the late 1960s and 70s she gave hugely popular talks to the most influential doctors in the country on the nature of pain, and these talks helped re-mold modern medical ethics. Her approach was that there was such a thing as ‘total pain’, in that you could be not just in physical pain, but also emotional, social, and spiritual distress.
Dame Cicely’s work with the hospice meant she became a dame in 1979, and in 1981 she was awarded the Templeton Prize, the world’s richest annual prize awarded to an individual. The Queen also awarded her the Order of Merit, and in 2001 she received the world’s largest humanitarian award – the Conrad N.
‘The door of hope must be shut slowly and gently’. Insightful words from Cicely Saunders' first publication, written while she was still a medical student. 'Dying of cancer', St Thomas’s Hospital Gazette, 56(2): 37-47; 1958. #CSCentenary #hpm
— David Clark (@dumfriesshire) January 12, 2018
A year later she established the charitable organisation Cicely Saunders International, with the aim of ensuring as many people with progressive illnesses or who are reaching the end of their life could receive palliative care. A painting of Dame Cicely hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.
Despite losing two major loves in her life, Dame Cicely did get married at the age of 61. In 1980 she wed Polish painter Marian Bohusz-Szyszko, who she’d known for many years and whose art adorned the walls of St Christopher became a patron of his art. Saunders died of cancer ten years later at age 87, also at St Christopher’s Hospice. dame cicely saunders age, dame cicely saunders quotes you matter, dame cicely saunders facts