As she retires after 51 years of caring for others, Marie Curie Nurse Iris Algie praises the courage of families who face the most difficult times.
Looking back at her 51 years of nursing, Iris Algie is humbled to think of all the patients she’s met and brought comfort to over the years. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my work and have felt very privileged to have cared for so many patients and families.”
Starting her nursing training in 1967, Iris always knew she wanted to go into caring for others having grown up in a family of nurses. Initially a general nurse in a large hospital in Ulster and later a midwife and then a night duty nurse, it was the death of her dad in 1985 that took her career in a new direction.
“My dad sadly died from cancer and his greatest wish was to pass away at home rather than going into a hospital. While he died before he needed any home help, I’d already been researching what was on offer to help terminally ill people stay at home and that’s when I came across Marie Curie,” says Iris. There and then she decided that was her future and she quickly joined Marie Curie as a palliative and end of life nurse, providing care to those with terminal illnesses and their families in their own homes.
Then in 1999 Iris joined the Marie Curie Hospice in Belfast and there she provided comfort to all patients, helping relieve their symptoms and make their time there as special as possible. “The thing that was most important for me was to focus entirely on the individual and what they want. So unlike general hospitals, if the patient wanted to sleep in and have their breakfast or get washed later, that’s fine. If they wanted to have their pets visit to bring them some joy that was okay. It’s such a special place where everyone goes the extra mile.”
Because of this, Iris and her colleagues have been honoured over the years to receive wonderful letters and words of thanks from patients who have said the care provided by Marie Curie made all the difference. Now, after almost five decades, Iris is ready to retire but has mixed emotions about leaving the job she adores. “I’ll so miss all the people. And the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped people and their families when they need it the most.”
Nevertheless, she’s proud to know her work will leave a legacy of love for those families she helped over the years. “I like to think I’ve done my best to help people, as I know Marie Curie provides such invaluable care and support. This wouldn’t be possible without all of our supporters, who help nurses, like myself, to continue to care for more people.”
If you’ve experienced the wonderful care of Marie Curie would you share your story with us? Write to us at the Yours address marking your letter Marie Curie or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What will your legacy be?
You don’t have to have been a nurse for 51 years like Iris to leave a legacy of care and support for people living with terminal illness and their families. By leaving a gift in your Will to Marie Curie you will be helping the Marie Curie Nurses following in Iris’ footsteps to go the extra mile providing care to patients and their loved ones, allowing them to spend precious time together during what can be the most difficult time.
To order your free Gifts in Wills guide call 0800 144 5740 or visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/willguide