Pauline’s gift, in thanks for Jonathan

06 October 2020

Pauline Lynch had a close relationship with Evelina London for many years as her son, Jonathan, was treated there throughout his childhood. When Pauline sadly died of cancer, she left a wonderful gift of £5,000 in her will to Evelina London. Here, her daughter, Catherine, tells the poignant story behind why her beloved mum chose to donate to the hospital in this way.

Pauline, Jonathan and Catherine
Pauline, Jonathan and Catherine

My brother, Jonathan, was born in 1980 with severe heart defects. He was immediately rushed to Evelina London.

My parents were told that he would not live past a week, but thanks to a number of immediate operations, Jonathan survived.

Not only did he survive, but he lived life to the fullest. He travelled, he studied and he enjoyed life. There were dark times for him too; I think the unfairness of his condition weighed upon him from time to time. But he had great friends and family around to help him manage his condition.

Throughout Jonathan’s life he had many open heart surgeries at Evelina London, so I was there a lot. I am only three years older than my brother, but from what I remember, the children’s ward was always a very friendly place. I always liked the doctors and nurses that treated him. He had a lot of visitors and they were always warmly welcomed on to the ward.

One thing I remember was a train track on the ceiling and lots of toys; it didn’t feel like a hospital ward at all.

I didn’t realise the severity at the time of the operations he was having throughout his childhood and always assumed he would come home after each hospital stint. The fact that he did, and that I was given this level of comfort as a sibling from the quality of care he received at Evelina London, is a testament to the level of expertise that my brother was lucky enough to benefit from.

Catherine, Pauline and Jonathan
Catherine, Pauline and Jonathan

When Jonathan died suddenly at the age of 24 it was a shock, especially as he was feeling well at the time. But if it wasn’t for Evelina London, my brother wouldn’t have lived the 24 years that he did.

My Mum has now passed away too. She wanted to remember Evelina London in her will, as if it wasn’t for the fantastic doctors, nurses and other staff there, we wouldn’t have had so much time with Jonathan.

I hope my Mum’s gift will help contribute to the wonderful staff of Evelina London, as they are the true heroes, and the part of the hospital that the children and families will remember the most.

It’s only now that I realise, as a parent myself, the amount of worry that my Mum and Dad must have experienced.

I can only hope that if one of my children needs the same kind of care, a place like Evelina London will be available to support us.

Leaving a gift in your will can be a wonderful way to honour the memory of a loved one, or thank the hospital for caring for them. Find out more about how to leave a gift in your will to Evelina London, just like Pauline did.

As members of the National Free Wills Network, we are pleased to be able to offer supporters the opportunity to have a simple will written, or a current one amended, by a qualified solicitor for free. Learn more here.