Ellie Jones, her sister Izzy, cousin Abi Jones and aunty Karen Jones took part in a skydive which raised over £8,000 for Tŷ Olwen.
PICTURED: (From left) Karen, Izzy, Ellie and Abi Jones raised money for Tŷ Olwen via a sponsored skydive.
Tŷ Olwen hospice, based at Morriston Hospital, Swansea, had cared for Ellie and Izzy’s dad Stephen, who was diagnosed with Chondrosarcoma – a very rare type of cancer that forms in the bone cartilage – and a brain tumour before he passed away at home in November 2022.
The level of care that Stephen received in Tŷ Olwen and at home was something his family, from Port Talbot, were keen to repay in the form of their big fundraising effort.
Stephen’s daughter Ellie, 22, said: “In early July 2022, my dad was admitted into Tŷ Olwen after showing symptoms of rapid deterioration.
“Whilst there, we found out he had a brain tumour which meant time was limited. If he hadn’t had gone to Tŷ Olwen then he would have only been with us for days, not months.
“Tŷ Olwen were incredible because they didn’t just give my dad the care and support he needed, but also us as a family. They looked after us in such a polite and caring way.
“Dad had his own room, and with it being summer and in the middle of a heatwave, we spent a lot of time out in the garden which was really nice.
“It made it feel like a home from home for us.
“A month later, with approval of the doctor, dad returned home and the palliative care team looked after him from then on. They were with him every day.
PICTURED: (From left) Ellie, mum Joanne Freeman-Jones, Izzy and dad Stephen Jones.
“We can’t thank Ty Olwen enough for the level of care dad had. His wish was to be with us at home, and that was respected. Myself and my sister Izzy are still young so we were a little uncertain about dad passing away at home, but Tŷ Olwen made it so comfortable for dad.
“One thing he made clear was that he wanted it to be as normal as possible, and that’s what he had in familiar surroundings at home with his family around him.
“My mum told me that when she was told dad had a brain tumour, she said it was done in such a professional way it helped process it better. It was the worst news given in the best possible way.”
Stephen, who had also been treated at Morriston Hospital and the South West Wales Cancer Centre in Singleton Hospital, was a sports enthusiast and keen mountain biker who enjoyed the thrill of adrenaline-based activities.
So the best way to combine a celebration of his life and raise money for Tŷ Olwen led to a sponsored 10,000-foot skydive, which involved a 30-second freefall at 120mph.
Ellie said: “I’d spoken to my dad about fundraising for Tŷ Olwen while he was still here. He loved adrenaline sports.
“It was the perfect opportunity to challenge us, do something dad would have loved and raise money for Tŷ Olwen at the same time.
Pictured right: (Seated) Ellie, Joanne, Izzy, Abi and Paul Jones handed over the cheque to Tŷ Olwen staff and Tŷ Olwen Trust chair Helen Murray.
“Dad would have loved it.”
The Jones family recently visited Tŷ Olwen to thank staff personally along with handing over a cheque for £8,151.
Fundraising plays a vital part in the running of Tŷ Olwen, with previous donations helping purchase equipment, provide specialist training for staff and the installation of a family room.
Pictured left: Sisters Ellie and Izzy Jones at Swansea Airport moments before their skydive.
Ellie added: “We wanted to give back to Tŷ Olwen because we are indebted to them. We also wanted to promote Tŷ Olwen because we want people to realise what they do for people.
“We also wanted people to read about my dad and know despite what he went through he always remained positive and he has instilled his never-give-up attitude in us all.
“We want to show that he was a true inspiration and explain what he had fought through. He’s still inspiring us all and will always do that. My sister promised my dad she’d smash her GCSEs last year and she achieved the top four results in the school. I’m also going to complete my Masters and Legal Practice Course to become a solicitor in Cardiff University because I made a promise to him too.
“The largest repayment we can give to Tŷ Olwen on behalf of dad and all his family is doing our part to ensure this level of care is available to those who need it the most, just like dad did. Hopefully the donation can do that.”