Wife of former hospice patient speaks about the importance of St Raphael's

Wimbledon Guardian: Paul Marcus died in February 2011 Paul Marcus died in February 2011

The wife of a former St Raphael’s patient has spoken about how important the hospice was to her family.

Paul Marcus, a director and producer in theatre, film and television died in February 2011 at the age of 56.

He is best known for his award-winning work as producer of the TV series Prime Suspect starring Helen Mirren.

The series won several awards including best actress for Helen Mirren and a BAFTA that went to Mr Marcus himself.

He was diagnosed with a rare type of non- Hodgkin lymphoma in 2008.

His wife, Viviana from Wimbledon said: “Telling our daughters – Rafaella, and Olivia, was terrible.

Rafaella was in her final year at Oxford reading English and Olivia studying GCSEs. I had to ask Rafaella to come home. They were devastated - it’s the worst thing you can imagine having to tell your children.”

At St Raphael’s Hospice, Mr Marcus was under the care of Dr Marie Joseph, medical director, who suggested Mrs Marcus organise a private ambulance to take him to Rafaella’s play at Oxford University.

Mrs Marcus said: “On the Friday night he was barely speaking, then on Saturday morning he woke up and said ‘Let’s go’.”

At the theatre in Oxford, Mr Marcus was moved on a stretcher straight to the balcony so he was able to sit upright and look down on the stage.

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Mrs Marcus said: “St Raphael’s Hospice had worked its magic – it had meant such a great deal to all of us. Rafaella came home the next day and stayed until the end.”

After this, Mrs Marcus slept at the hospice every night. A week after Paul died, Olivia auditioned for the National Youth Theatre and was accepted.

Rafaella graduated last summer with a First Class Honours degree and Mrs Marcus said: “His visit to Oxford could not have been made possible anywhere else but St Raphael’s Hospice.

“No-one other than St Raphael’s Hospice would understand what something like that means to a dying man and his family.

“The actions of the Hospice sustained us for many months after Paul died. It meant everything to us.”

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