THE tragic loss of her young husband to a rare form of leukaemia left a Thornton woman devastated.
Now Hazel McNab has poured her heart and soul into a project to create a very special family room in the new wing of Victoria Hospital in memory of James to thank all the staff who looked after him.
With the help for family and friends over £5000 was raised to help buy furniture, curtains, lighting and electrical equipment including games consols and DVDs to furnish a relaxing, comfortable room on the new Ward 34, which houses haematology and oncology.
And it is already proving a comforting haven for patients suffering from blood disorders and cancers who can spend time away from the hospital environment.
A few months after the death of father-of-two James (42) in July 2009, three of his golfing friends held a charity night and auction to raise money for the ward he was treated in.
It took place at Thornton Golf Club and raised over £4200.
The following spring his football buddies at Thornton Amateurs, where he was the team manager, organised a charity football match. People came from all over Scotland and the event raised over £1000, with another the following year generating around £500.
“When they all came to me saying ‘here is all this money, what do you want to do with it’, I immediately thought of the time when he had been in hospital and how it would have been good for us as a family to have had a nicely decorated, homely room where we could go when James was feeling better and spend some time away from the hospital environment,” explained Hazel (39).
“Even something as simple as being able to sit round a table and eat a carry out meal with the girls or watch Saturday night television and feel normal for a few hours would have been a godsend.
‘‘There was a room in Ward 17, but it was very bare and not very homely.
“I thought it would be good when the ward opened in the new wing to have somewhere nice for people in a similar situation to ourselves to spend some normal quality, family time.”
Hazel was helped by the contractors and healthcare professionals who advised her on the type of materials she would have to use, and she says she is very grateful to Zoie Ritchie who, as well as making all the curtains and cushions, gave her lots of help in other areas.
“Everything had to be able to be wiped down and antibacterial, but all the companies I asked gave us things cost price, which I am very thankful for.
“This whole project is down to everyone who did the fundraising and who contributed, I did very little.
“I am delighted with the room .
‘‘It is a lovely memorial to James - we have put a plaque on the wall to thank everyone, including the hospital staff who were wonderful to us all and have become like friends.”
Gordon McGhee, senior charge nurse in ward 34, said he too was delighted with the new room.
“It is already being used by patients and their families and has had a great response,” he said.
“It will really come into its own for people with children or young relatives where it can bring a bit of normality to their lives.
“Isolation is a big issue for patients who are in hospital for many weeks at a time, and this simple setting away from the ward will make such a difference.”