Let’s talk about Marie Curie
Here’s your guide to telling our story so more people understand how we help and are inspired to give us their support.
At Marie Curie, we provide care and support for people living with any terminal illness, and their families. We’ve been carrying out this vital work for over 65 years – last year alone we cared for over 40,000 people across the UK.
But we can’t do everything ourselves so we need your help.
As a Marie Curie Ambassador, you play an important role in communicating the work that we do to people in your local community.
We know that, while many people have heard about Marie Curie, they don’t really know what we do and how we help. And that’s why we need your help. To tell people our story and inspire them to support us so we can continue to do more for more people living with a terminal illness.
To help you to share our story with others, we’ve put together this guide and other resources that you can use including:
a PowerPoint presentation with a script, images and videos that you can tailor for your audience
a DVD you can take along to your talks if a TV and DVD player are available, and you don’t have access to a laptop or projector facilities
a selection of posters on the different aspects of our work that you can print out and display at the venue
information about Marie Curie that you can print out and give to your audience
If you don’t have access to a computer or projector facilities to deliver your presentation, simply print out the alternative Powerpoint presentation slides we’ve prepared for you to share and talk through with your audience. You can still use the same script that you’ll find in this guide.
Thanks so much for your support ̶ we can’t do all that we do without you!
Just before you get started…
Here are our tips to make sure your presentation is a success:
Before giving your presentation, talk to your community fundraiser first to ask them if there are any Marie Curie events you could promote and include on the last slide (slide 21) of your presentation. This could be a national campaign such as the Great Daffodil Appeal or the launch of a new fundraising group in an area near you.
It’s often helpful to assume that your audience is not very familiar with the work of Marie Curie, so always provide more information especially when you’re talking about what we do and how we help.
Feel free to adapt your script to suit your audience and why they would be interested to support Marie Curie. For example, if you don’t live in an area close to a Marie Curie Hospice, you may want to spend less time talking about our hospices and focus more on the care and support our nurses provide in your community.
Remember to play the video clips that have been embedded into your presentation, or that are on your DVD, if you have the facility to do so. If you’re not able to play the videos, you can still read out the stories we’ve included in your script – these are compelling real-life accounts that have the potential to emotionally engage your audience. You may also wish to share your personal story on why you’re a Marie Curie supporter or how the charity has helped you or someone close to you.
Don’t rush through your presentation. Remember to stop every now and then to check that your audience is following you or if they have any questions or need more information.
Make sure your audience can hear you clearly, or they’ll quickly lose interest in what you have to say.
Do leave some time for questions after you finish your presentation.
And don’t forget the hand-outs. Make sure your audience have information on Marie Curie to take away with them before or after your presentation. This could be a leaflet or print-outs that you’ve prepared beforehand.
If you have any questions on your presentation or script, please ask your community fundraiser who will be more than happy to help.
Thanks and good luck!
We’ve included a selection of images and videos in the PowerPoint presentation to help you tell our story and keep your audience interested and engaged.
We’ve also written a script to go with each slide in your presentation, which you can find in the pages below. The script will help you to deliver all the important messages about Marie Curie to your audience.
This presentation will take around 30 minutes for you to deliver. You can always tailor your presentation and script to suit your style, audience, location and time that you have been given to deliver it.
Care and support through terminal illness
Marie Curie was founded in 1948. We take our name in honour of the distinguished physicist and chemist Marie Curie, who was awarded the Nobel Prize twice.
When we started our charity, Marie Curie’s daughter Eve gave us permission to use her mother’s name.
We’re here for people with any terminal illness, and their families
We’re here for people with any type of terminal illness, whether it’s terminal cancer or other illnesses such as motor neurone disease, dementia or heart failure.
What do we mean by a terminal illness?
Someone has a terminal illness when they reach a point where their illness is likely to lead to their death.
Depending on their condition and treatment, they may live for days, weeks, months or even years after this point.
How we’re helping
We offer expert care, guidance and support to help people living with a terminal illness and their families get the most from the time they have left.
Our services include:
Marie Curie Nurses. They work night and day in people’s homes across the UK, providing hands-on care and vital emotional support.
Marie Curie Hospices. Our hospices offer specialist round-the-clock care in a friendly, welcoming environment.
We also help people throughout their illness, and those close to them, by giving them support from trained Marie Curie Helper volunteers and being there when someone wants to talk through our Marie Curie Support Line.
In 2014/15, we helped over 40,000 people with a terminal illness across the UK.
Marie Curie Nurses
Marie Curie Nurses are experienced in caring for people with a terminal illness in their homes.
Our nurses provide hands-on care and emotional support in people’s own home.
The support our nurses give helps people to be cared for at home for as long as possible, if that’s what they want. This means they may be able to avoid going into hospital, so they can be with their family and friends in the familiar comfort of their own home.
Marie Curie Nurses are also there for family members, giving them vital emotional support.
When our nurses provide care overnight in people’s homes, it allows families to take a break from their caring role so they can get some rest or catch up with sleep, as they know that their loved ones are being looked after by a Marie Curie Nurse.
Our nurses have the time to listen to people’s concerns and talk through their anxieties about what they’re going through, what to expect and what lies ahead in the future. They often provide reassurance or a friendly ear to help people through this difficult time.
In 2014/15, Marie Curie’s 2,100 nursing staff across the UK provided a total of 1.2 million hours to care for 31,589 people.
Slide 5 - video clip (two minutes long)
Elizabeth, a Marie Curie Nurse, explains her role and why she finds it both fulfilling and a privilege to be there for someone towards the end of their life.
Elizabeth said: “I love being able to give one-to-one attention to patients overnight. It can be a difficult job, but the satisfaction you get from letting someone die peacefully and with dignity makes it all worthwhile.
“To be with someone who is dying is such an extraordinary experience, an exclusive time for a family. As a Marie Curie Nurse, you are a privileged guest. You are there to offer help but you mustn’t rule the roost.
“It is such a huge difference caring for someone in their own home rather than in a hospital environment. That’s why I love being a Marie Curie Nurse. To go into patients’ homes and help them and their families is a huge privilege.”
Slide 6 - Caroline’s story
“Mum passed away in my arms with all her family around her.”
Caroline’s mother was cared for by Marie Curie Nurses. She told us:
“When someone you love has a terminal illness, you’re scared and don’t know what will happen. Our nurses explained the signs to look out for, like changes in my mum’s breathing. They gave us that bit of medical reassurance. They told us what we should expect.
“We had Marie Curie Nurses for three nights. I’d give Marie Curie the world to thank them for what they did for us.
“The support we got from the nurses helped us cope with Mum’s death. She was 74 when she died. She was only diagnosed with ovarian cancer six months before. It went to her lungs, and she had two lots of chemo and was then told they couldn’t do anything else.
“My stepfather has dementia, so the nurses chatted to him and looked after him as well. They also reassured me and my aunt. They looked after all of us.
“Mum passed away in my arms with all her family around her. Just before it happened, Mum said: “I’m ready to go.” It was weird how she knew. It happened how she would’ve wanted it.”
Marie Curie Hospices
There are nine Marie Curie Hospices across the UK.
Each hospice offers the reassurance of specialist care and support, all free of charge, in a friendly, welcoming environment, for people living with a terminal illness and their loved ones – whether they’re staying in the hospice, or just coming in for the day.
How our hospices help will vary depending on what people and their family want and need from us.
Each hospice has doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers, chaplains and counsellors who work together to help people achieve the best possible quality of life. They’ll offer all the support they can to meet people’s needs, whether it’s helping to relieve someone’s symptoms, supporting them and their loved ones at a difficult time, or advising people on practical issues.
In 2014/15, our hospices cared for 8,465 people with a terminal illness.
Slide 8 - hospice video (about five minutes long)
Find out how our hospices are like from patients, family members, staff and volunteers
Gerald, a patient at the hospice, says: “You never see nobody with a dull face, you never see nobody miserable. It’s not like this one day, it’s every day.”
Jason, whose wife Tina was cared for at the hospice, says: “With the play facilities, it means Ben and Grace could go off and just spend a little bit of time by themselves while I could go and see Tina. All the staff always made the kids feel welcome. They always took time with them, say hello and chatted to them ̶ it just put everyone at ease.”
Liz, the hospice manager, says: “We’re very much about life, and the quality of life. We’re here to ensure that all the patients who come for our care do achieve that as best as possible. We do have the most amazing building, however it’s the people who work here ̶ be it staff or volunteers ̶ and of course the patients, that makes it so special.”
Ruth, a day service sister, says: “I think we go the extra mile, every day, to individualise the care that people get at Marie Curie. We see people coming to Marie Curie as a whole, so we embrace the family as well, as it’s really important to us that we include them in everything that we do, and take them on that journey and support that family right through to the end.”
James, a volunteer, says: “I was expecting a completely different experience when I came in, because I thought I was going to be volunteering at the day care service at the hospice, it might be a little depressing ̶ but it’s completely fantastic! From the first day I came in, the volunteers are so happy, we all get to know each other and the patients so well.”
Slide 9 - Susan’s story
“Mum was so happy that we could bring her cat to the hospice”
Susan Brown’s mother Shirlie was cared for at Marie Curie Hospice, Belfast. She told us:
“Mum was a very kind and generous person. She loved animals and had five cats. In 2010 she was diagnosed with bowel cancer and over the years had to have a number of operations.
“In December 2013, she was transferred to the Marie Curie Hospice, Belfast. She’d been in hospital in the months before that but they found it hard to control her pain. She was apprehensive and emotional about going into the hospice. But the medical staff changed her medication and within a week they had her pain under control; she was sitting up and walking around with a physiotherapist.
“Mum had a beautiful large, private bedroom and bathroom. There was a great staff-to-patient ratio; she had a named nurse; and the food was excellent. Best of all it was a quiet, happy and calm place. She frequently said: ‘How was I lucky enough to get in here?’
“The atmosphere was so positive and friendly and it felt like a home not a hospital. Our family was able to come and go at any time.
“A bonus was being able to bring in Buffy – one of Mum’s five cats – to visit. I brought Buffy to the hospice three times. She loved sitting on Mum’s bed, or, if Mum was sitting on a chair, then on her knee.
“At the end of January 2014, Mum was well enough to no longer need to stay at the hospice, so an organised discharge was planned. The district nurse arranged for a Marie Curie Nurse to sit up overnight with Mum to give the family a rest. She came upstairs and said Mum’s breathing was slowing. We were able to go down and be with her. Mum passed away that night with her cats asleep beside her, but it was so peaceful. It was as perfect as you could make it and exactly what she wanted.”
Information and support for everyone
At Marie Curie, we want everyone affected by a terminal illness to get the information and support they need, whether you have an illness yourself or you’re a family member or friend.
So in April 2015, we launched our new information and support services. Anyone can access these free services which include:
Marie Curie Support Line
People can ask questions and find support from our trained advisers through this dedicated line.
Many of the calls we’re getting are coming from family members of someone who has just found out they have a terminal illness, and are looking for support that’s available and where to find it, or just someone to talk to.
Marie Curie’s website and information leaflets
We have more than 200 information pages on our website for people with a terminal illness, and their families and friends.
There’s practical information about living with a terminal illness, financial and legal information, looking after someone’s wellbeing and care needs, planning ahead for the future and useful links to other support that’s available.
Free printed information booklets are also available on request.
Marie Curie Community
There are times when people just want to talk to someone else in the same situation, someone who understands what they’re going through.
Our online community is a safe place where people with a terminal illness and their families can find and give support. It’s where they can come together to share their experiences with others, any time, any day of the week.
Marie Curie Helper volunteers
Living with a terminal illness can be isolating. Little things most of us take for granted, like a chat over a cup of tea, can make a big difference. That’s where our trained Helper volunteers come in.
They visit people regularly for a few hours each week to help them get to an appointment, go out shopping or for a stroll, or just listen when they need a friendly ear.
People can ask for support from the Helper service directly by contacting the service manager in their area. You can find out where this service is currently available and the contact details on Marie Curie’s website.
We’re expanding our Helper service so it’ll be available in many more areas. This service is currently available in: [NB: Please check mariecurie.org.uk/helper for the latest list of areas this service is being offered in]
•Tyne and Wear
Slide 12 - Quote from Nasir, who is getting support from Habib, a Helper volunteer
Marie Curie Helper volunteers
Nasir told us why the Helper service is important to him:
“My wife is my main carer. Having Habib to help me gives my wife a break and it means she can also go to Friday prayers. It’s very nice to have Habib as a Helper volunteer. It’s extra company and he’s like a son to me.”
Our work on policy and research
We work with politicians, policymakers, the NHS and other charities to actively campaign for better care and support on behalf of people affected by a terminal illness.
We believe everyone living with a terminal illness should have access to high quality care and support, which meets all of their needs.
As this issue affects us all, we would like more people to join us by adding their voice to our campaigns. To get involved this way, you can register your details to become one of our campaign supporters at: mariecurie.org.uk/campaigns
We’re a leader in research into better ways of caring for people living with a terminal illness. We incorporate what we learn into the care and support we provide, and share it with others so we can make care better for everyone.
We spend more than £3 million each year to fund our own research teams as well as external research programmes.
The research we do explores crucial issues such as ways to treat breathlessness and cancer-related pain.
Find out more at: mariecurie.org.uk/research
The challenges we are facing now
There’s growing demand for Marie Curie’s services as more people are living longer, and many are living with one or more illnesses.
Over the last 65 years, Marie Curie helped hundreds of thousands of people and families. But our ageing population means more and more people are living with a terminal illness.
Over the next 25 years, the number of deaths will increase by around 100,000 more deaths each year. That’s one more person dying every five minutes. And most of these people will have been living with a terminal illness.
People will have more complex needs as well. It is estimated that as many as 44% of adults in their last year of life will have more than one long-term health conditions.
And by 2018, the number of people in England with at least three long-term conditions is expected to have risen to 2.9 million people (from 1.9 million in 2008). Similar increases are also expected in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The challenges we are facing now
People’s needs are still not currently being met or recognised.
Even now, before we feel the impact of these major changes, seven out of 10 carers say people with a terminal illness don’t get all the care and support they need.
There’s also an information gap about terminal illness, with 41% of carers saying that people with a terminal illness don’t always get the information they, or their family or friends, need. They often feel uncertain of where to go for help, or who to ask about the many different issues that they may face.
We don’t think that’s good enough. We think more has to be done to meet this challenge.
We want to do much more to help more people, now and in the future
We want to help more people living with a terminal illness and their families by growing our existing services and developing new ones.
We’ll increase the number of people we care for at home and in our hospices to 50,000 people a year by 2019 (from over 40,000 in 2014/15).
We’re expanding our Helper service so it will be available nationwide by 2019.
We’ll be increasing our support for bereaved people.
We’ll double our investment in research into better ways of caring for people with a terminal illness.
Slide 17 Our supporters keep us going
Up and down the UK, we rely on the generosity of our supporters who donate their money, time and skills so we can continue caring and supporting people at the time they need it most.
And our supporters do all kinds of things to help us in many different ways.
our community supporters raised £25.8 million by taking part in our Great Daffodil Appeal collections, throwing Blooming Great Tea Parties, joining our Walk Ten challenges and organising almost 6,000 of their own fundraising events
more than 7,400 people raised over £3 million by taking part in our challenge events and running, swimming, cycling and trekking for us
more than 11,415 people volunteered for us across our hospices, shops, Helper service, offices, research units and fundraising events
How your support can help us
The care and support we provide are all always free of charge to the people we help. This includes people living with a terminal illness, and their family and friends.
Each year, Marie Curie spends around £106 million on providing care, research into better ways of caring for people and work to improve care and support.
So every hour of every day, we need to raise £10,000 to carry on our work.
That’s why we’re asking people to give their support, so we can make it possible for more people with terminal illnesses all over the UK to have the care and support they deserve, now and in the future.
Here’s how your support can help us:
£20 pays for one hour of Marie Curie nursing care in someone’s home
£180 pays for a Marie Curie Nurse to look after a person in their home for a full nine-hour overnight shift so that their family members can get some rest from their caring role
£400 pays for someone to stay at a Marie Curie Hospice for one day, so they can get the expert care, and practical and emotional support that they and their families need.
£19,000 pays for a Marie Curie Nurse for one year.
Slide 19 - video clip (two minutes long)
Your support will help people like Christine, who was able to care for her dad, Granville, at home, with support from Marie Curie Nurses. She said:
“Dad was a very proud man and he didn’t want strangers involved in his care. He didn’t want to go into a home or a hospice, he was very adamant about that.
“Until he was diagnosed with bowel cancer he was very well and very active. He was a very bright man with a dry sense of humour. He adored his great-granddaughters, calling the youngest, Sophie, Goldilocks. She always made him smile.
“I was Dad’s main carer and wasn’t getting a great quality of sleep. That was when the Marie Curie Nurses came in to sit with him during the night and sometimes during the day as well to let me have a bit of a rest.
“It gave me peace of mind to know there was someone qualified with him. And he could talk to the nurses in a way he couldn’t talk to me, in case it upset me. We’re just so grateful for what they did for us.”
Here’s how you can support us today
There are so many ways people can join in to support our work.
Make a donation
Take part in our fundraising events or organise your own
Get involved with your company, school or network
Become a volunteer to support our Great Daffodil Appeal in March, your local fundraising group, or at our hospices, offices or shops
Leave a gift in your Will
To volunteer, fundraise or sign up for an event, you can visit: mariecurie.org.uk/getinvolved
Take part in one of your local events
There’s always something happening in your area that you can join in. You could:
To volunteer, fundraise or sign up for an event, you can also visit: mariecurie.org.uk/getinvolved