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Hospice carer steps into ring for patient who lost his life

Hannah Docherty from Marie Curie was inspired by the bravery of her terminally ill patients.

Hannah Docherty from Marie Curie was inspired by the bravery of her terminally ill patients.

If there was a moment that Hannah Docherty felt fear before stepping into the ring, it passed quicker than a heartbeat.
How could she not feel courage when the name of one of the bravest fighters in the world was printed on her back?His name was Andrew. He’d supported her all the way, through six weeks of gruelling training before the gloves went on.She took a deep breath and listened for her song. She’d been asked to select a track to make her debut entrance too.A Glasgow girl through and through, she’d chosen the Gerry Cinnamon hit “She’s a Belter".Her shorts were white and gold with a yellow daffodil emblazoned on one side.That was for Andrew too – and for all the patients she’d helped nurse through their final days.Hannah, 23, is an Allied Health Professional Assistant at the Marie Curie hospice in Glasgow.Her job is to care for people fighting some of the toughest battles in the world; men and women with cancer, respiratory conditions, multiple sclerosis or motor neurone disease.Each of them, in their own way, had taught her what it means to fight."I started there last August, it was something I always wanted to do," says Hannah."I get great joy comforting people, I want to be that person holding their hand or making their last wishes come true."

"I get great joy comforting people, I want to be that person holding their hand"
Hannah, Marie Curie

Andrew was one patient with a particularly special wish – to marry the love of his life, Anne. They’d been together for over 20 years.At the time, Hannah was acting has his physiotherapist, helping him to exercise and feel strong – but she wanted to help him make his wish come true too.With Andrew’s health declining, as cancer tried to take everything it could from him, Hannah stepped in.She arranged the wedding to be held inside the hospice, helping Andrew to be strong enough for the ceremony to go ahead."Anything they want to do, we have to try to make it happen for them," she says."We’re lucky, we have time to bond with patients, time to learn what they love and care about."When they’re scared they can tell us. When they have a wish we can try and grant it."While Hannah helped Andrew, without quite knowing it, he was helping her.Her confidence grew. She felt courage. As each patient fought their own battles she stood beside them- and realised how important it was that there was always someone there to hold a person’s hand when things get tough."The patients at the hospice are fighting battles that I can never imagine," she says."Marie Curie is a charity tough, and I realised how much it relies on the generous donations of others to keep going."Hannah wanted to help. She had been a boxing ring girl when she was younger – perhaps she could physically fight for the hospice and the patients she cared for."I just felt like I could go in and fight for them to raise funds for what they need," she says.
Hannah entered into a training programme and registered for her first fight. She got the gloves, the shoes, the shorts and dug deep for the grit.Despite never having boxed before, she launched her fundraising challenging and money began to come in.Andrew encouraged her. He even made plans to come along and see her enter the ring.Then, just before her big debut, Andrew lost his own fight.It was tough, but Hannah pledged to keep going. Inspired by Andrew, she sent a message to his family, asking if she could please wear his name on the back of her shirt during the match in tribute to him and the strength he’d shown.They gave their blessing and even asked if they could come and watch her fight.Up until that point, they had not known the brown haired girl who had cared so much for Andrew in his final weeks.
Event promoters, SK Boxing Promoters, offered to donate half the ticket money from the match to Marie Curie.With everything arranged, on February 17, Hannah stepped into the ring to the sound of her song.Her competitor, Sophie, knew it was her first time and what she was fighting for."She didn’t hold back and I liked that," says Hannah. "I wanted it to be like that, I needed it to be a battle – that was the whole point."Hannah fought right until the end – and raised more than £1500 from the fight.Devastatingly, the next day, it was discovered that the extra money raised from the charity buckets around the ring that night was stolen from the venue – and police are investigating.Despite this, Hannah says she is delighted with how much she is still able to give."I am proud of getting through it and of being able to give something," she says."In the lead up to it I was really, really nervous, but I’m so glad I did it. "In my job, your patients teach you that life is short but being there for them is simply the best thing in the world."
If you would still like to support Hannah’s cause or learn more about what the Marie Curie Hospice provides, please visit the Marie Curie website.

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