A portrait of Heather Meyerend, a hospice nurse in New York City.

A portrait of Heather Meyerend, a hospice nurse in New York City.

Larissa MacFarquhar for The New Yorker:

Heather is not brisk or efficient, as nurses in hospitals are. She is purposely inefficient, in fact. Most of the time when she visits patients, she doesn’t have much to do: she takes vital signs, she checks that there are enough supplies and medications in the house, she asks if old symptoms have gone away or new ones developed. If she were rushing, she could do all that in about five minutes, but her visits usually last an hour or more. Sometimes there is a complicated medical situation to take care of. Sometimes she does something non-medical that needs to be done, which is the hospice way — she might sweep a floor, she might heat up dinner. But, even when there’s nothing else to do, the idea is to be around longer, to chat, to sit close by, to put her hands on the patient’s skin as she goes about her checkup. Her visit may be the high point of the day for the patient, who may not be able to get out of bed, or for whoever is taking care of the patient, who may not have left the house or seen anybody else for a day or two; either or both of them may be going a little crazy and may badly need interruption or variety of any kind, ideally someone different to talk to. So Heather moves slowly; she sits down; she delays; she lingers.

That’s a long quote, but only a small section of a wonderful piece. Sad, uplifting and beautiful in simply describing Heather’s work.

Read the full article at The New Yorker.

Registrations for Girls Night Out 2016 are open.

A quick reminder that registrations for Girls Night Out 2016, St Nicholas Hospice Care’s annual sponsored moonlight walk in Bury St Edmunds are now open.

Thanks to our new event registration system in Echoleft, registration for you, or a whole group is simple. Everyone who registers will receive a free t-shirt, pin badge and, most importantly, a pair of flashing bunny ears. Be sure to pick out your best pair of pink pajamas and register soon, as the deadline for cheaper registration fees on 31st May 2016 is fast approaching!

Girls Night Out 2016 logo

We’re absolutely astounded at the number of groups of friends, coworkers and families that have already come together to register for this amazing event. You can be a part of something special with us by registering your group for Girls Night Out 2016!

The Good Funeral Awards 2016 Announced

We had a great time at last year’s Good Funeral Awards, meeting people from across the funeral industry. We were in good company, on our table were the winners of Best Funeral Directors, the lovely A R Adams Family, and Best Coffins, the equally-lovely Cath Pratley from Cradle To Grave.

This year’s Good Funeral Awards is a lunch event on Thursday 8 September in the Porchester Hall in London.

From their announcement:

This year we have 24 categories, the same number as they have at the Oscars in Hollwood.
 New categories include: Modern Funeral Director of the Year, Best Maker of Hand Carved Memorials and Best Green Funeral Product.
 Our role in funeralworld has been to bring the traditionalists and the innovators under one roof to give the the public a better idea of what we’re about.
 We’ll kick off at about midday and there will be a three-course meal served up by Anna Corless of Anna’s Kitchen.

Tickets are available now.

Elderly People Look At Their Younger Reflections In This Beautiful Photo Series By Tom Hussey

Wow. I know these were created for an ad campaign, but they’re still great.

From Digital Synopsis, where you can see the rest of the photos, all of which belong to Tom Hussey:

‘Reflections of The Past’ is an award-winning photo series by commercial advertising photographer Tom Hussey. The photographs show an elderly person looking pensively at the reflection of his/her younger self in the mirror. Hussey was inspired by a World War II veteran who said “I can’t believe I’m going to be 80. I feel like I just came back from the war. I look in the mirror and I see this old guy.”

Source: Digital Synopsis

Echoleft powering registrations for Girls Night Out 2016.

We are hugely proud to be working with St Nicholas Hospice Care as part of their largest fundraising event of the year, Girls Night Out.

We’ve built a new website, full of useful information and we’ve made it even easier for you and your group to sign up and pay your registration fees using Echoleft.

Last year’s sponsored walk around Bury St Edmunds, which saw over 1,800 of you taking part dressed in your favourite pyjamas, raised £190,000 to help the hospice care for those affected by long-term illnesses.

This year’s Girls Night Out will be held on Saturday, 10th September, starting at Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds. We have no doubt that this year’s event will be even more successful and we can’t wait to see you all with your flashing bunny ears! It’s a great feeling knowing that our work with charity event registrations and donations is helping to power one of the most exciting fundraising events in Suffolk.

Girls Night Out 2016 Logo

For more information about Girls Night Out 2016, including how to register, visit the Girls Night Out website.

Ready to walk? No problem, you can register now.

Lightning talks at Suffolk Developers

We love to share how we build beautiful memorial websites and enable in-memory giving at Echoleft. As part of that I’ll be giving two lightning talks at this month’s Suffolk Developers on Monday, 25th January.

The talks will be: “Heroku Review Apps” and “JSON API”, which are things that we use to help us build and test new features in Echoleft.

Run by our friends Anders and Adam at Developer Mountain, Suffolk Developers is a monthly meet-up for software developers based in Suffolk to learn new skills from one another.

Coaching at RailsGirls London, December 2015

It was a privilege to once again be a coach at Rails Girls London this weekend.

It’s an event where women can learn the basics of Ruby (one of the programming languages that we use) and create a simple app in a day.

From their website:

Rails Girls aims to open up technology and make it more approachable for girls and women. The weekend event is free and open to all enthusiastic girls and women.

Rails is one of the key technologies that we use at Echoleft, and it’s important to all of us that there is a strong, vibrant and diverse community of people that contribute to it and use it.

I met a few people that had applied because a friend or colleague had attended in the past and recommended it. There were also beginners from previous events that had come back to be coaches this time around after successfully developing their skills even further, some even changing career. These are both huge endorsements not only of the coaches and the value that you can get out of them, but the exellent organisation by the team that put it together.

A few more tweets from the event:


How does it feel to be young and dying?

Elizabeth Caplice, writing at Palliverse:

One thing that has been difficult for me throughout my treatment process has been the fact that in most of the media around terminal illness — particularly terminal cancer, euthanasia, pain control and palliative care, the only patient voices that are highlighted are high profile terminally ill elderly people.
 […] when it comes to being a young voice, and for that matter, a young writer who wants to discuss terminal illnesses and palliative care in younger people, there tends to be a lack of interest in publishing these voices and opinions.

I think that the voices of people like Elizabeth will be further amplified as tools like blogging and social media continue their march into new areas of our lives, but this is a call for mainstream media outlets to heed. The BBC’s “Before I Kick The Bucket” was a good example of a different side of terminal illness being portrayed.

Her note about the images used on websites (usually stock photography), as trivial as it may seem, really resonated with me.

wrinkled hands with cannulas, hospital beds with elderly people. This is the image of the terminally ill. This is what palliative care is represented as being, while the reality is so much broader.

Read the full post here.

Elizabeth expands on her post a little in the comments, so scroll down for more of her thoughts.

You can read Elizabeth’s blog at skybetweenbranches.wordpress.com.

#1millionhours. A new campaign from BBC Radio 1.

Related to yesterday’s post about AgeUK’s new campaign, a new challenge from BBC Radio 1:

This December we’re launching an ambitious challenge — and we need your help to make it happen.
 As a society we face lots of challenges, which can sometimes seem impossible to sort out. But if a lot of us do a little, we can make a difference. Just a few hours of your time can change the life of someone in need.
 We’re hoping to inspire you to pledge towards organisations who need your time, and for you to have a great experience too. We’re working with four different charities — Age UK, Barnardo’s, Cancer Research UK and Oxfam and you can pledge your time with them today, or with anyone else you choose.

AgeUK is also one of their featured charities, so hopefully it opens them up to a younger audience.

Interestingly, the young person starts their application on the Radio 1 site and is taken automatically to complete the process on the website of their chosen charity.

Well done to the BBC for getting that in place, I can only imagine the challenges involved. There are lots of opportunities out there for more major websites can act as a ‘capture point’ for good causes, let’s hope more of them choose to do it.

Photos from the SyncDevelopHER Awards 2015

You might remember that Sam was nominated for a SyncDevelopHER Award. We were lucky enough to attend the awards ceremony and while Sam wasn’t the winner in her category, it was great to be a part of an event where talented women from across the Suffolk & East Anglia technology industry are being recognised for their great work.

Take a look at photos from the event, and sign up for more information about next year’s event at www.syncdevelopher.com

The venue before things got going.

Not seen in this shot is the chocolate fountain that was a huge hit on the evening.