Last drinks are on the house

MIKE MATHER
Last updated 05:00 26/11/2013
Hospice
BRUCE MERCER/Fairfax NZ

Anne-Marie Case-Miller, left, Hospice Waikato chief executive Craig Tamblyn and hospice volunteer Pam Lawson toast the generosity of the Hamilton community.

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The jolly trolley - it's a lighthearted name with a deeper meaning.

The jolly trolley is a drinks trolley at Hospice Waikato. The hospice's staff offer the patients - all of whom are suffering from terminal conditions of one kind or another - a drink in the evening.

For many of them, the choice of which drink, or even the choice of partaking at all, is the only decision they will be able to make for themselves for that entire day. Every other decision will have been made for them, thanks to the cancers or other conditions they are battling or succumbing to.

Hospice Waikato's patients will be a little more jolly - and the trolley a little more well-stocked - over the festive season, thanks to the generosity of Anne-Marie Case-Miller and her friends.

"I saw a Facebook post on the Hospice Waikato page calling for alcohol and softdrink donations for their jolly trolley . . . I thought I should be able to rattle up a few bottles, and reposted their status on my own page."

She was motivated by the endeavours of her mother, a community hospice nurse, and also the kindness of the staff at hospice's offshoot children's facility Rainbow Place. They had helped her children deal with the death of  Case-Miller's father, killed in a car accident last year.

"It's totally biased, but my mum epitomised what those hospice nurses are all about. She spent every minute of every working day doing her utmost to ensure a dignified and pain-free end to every patient in their care. They are all like that, just really incredible people."

Case-Miller's appeal has so far resulted in more than 30 bottles being given to her, all of which she has passed on to the organisation.

"I have around 100 Facebook friends in the Waikato, so this is a pretty good response. I had scotch, port, whiskey, brandy, all being delivered to my door."

The hospice staff were thrilled with the donations and the patients there now have enough drinks to tide them over the Christmas period.

"It's just generosity, I suppose. I have amazing, generous friends," Case-Miller said. "It's the power of giving, combined with the power of social networking."

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- Waikato Times

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