Wednesday, 17 July 2024
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Wednesday, 17 July 2024

Dedicate a light in memory of your loved ones this Christmas

A Derby woman who was inspirational in setting up the multicultural centre in Normanton will be remembered by her family during Treetops Hospice annual Light Up A Life event.

Stephanie Rosso, affectionately known as ‘Stevie’, was an active member of two local choirs and an advocate for women’s rights. She was ‘full of life’ before her death earlier this year.

This is the first Christmas that Stevie’s family will be without her. But daughter, Aimee, will remember her ‘fun and kind-hearted’ mum during the Light Up A Life service, which will take place on Sunday 5 December.

Treetops are encouraging people to make an online dedication in a loved one’s name to shine as a light on their Christmas tree, which will be switched on during the virtual service.

Dedicate a light in memory of your loved ones this Christmas
Bella, Steph and Aimee

Aimee said:

“Mum was an amazing, inspirational woman and wherever she went, she made an impact. She was brilliant and always encouraged us.

“She loved to sing, and she was involved in two choirs. She once travelled down to Kent and sang to the asylum seekers arriving on the boats. She stood outside the holding centre and sang to the women and children, to raise their spirits.”

Stevie was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s shortly after retiring eight years ago.

Dedicate a light in memory of your loved ones this Christmas
Elzanne, Steph and Aimee

Aimee explained:

“For three or four years, mum was fine, and she learned to live with it and carry on independently.

“But then she started to forget to eat and started going out in the middle of the night. I was getting worried about her. She couldn’t live on her own, so during the lockdown, she moved in with me and my daughter Bella. We had a laugh, and it was a real bonding time.”

By Christmas 2020, Stephanie needed end-of-life care at home. Aimee and her family were put in touch with Treetops Hospice at Home nursing team.

Dedicate a light in memory of your loved ones this Christmas
Aimee, Thomas and Steph

Aimee said:

“Mum had always wanted to stay at home, so my brother Thomas and his wife Elzanne moved into mum’s house to help along with me. It was quite a daunting thought and as we got towards the end of her life, it did start to take its toll. It became quite frightening for us as a family on our own, not knowing what to do and how we were supposed to look after her.

“The Treetops nurses came and just changed everything for us. They arrived and just gelled with mum immediately. Within 5 minutes they became one of the family. They showed us how to care for mum and gave us confidence when treating her.

“Having someone at home that is poorly and needs 24-hour care is very, very draining and tiring. Not just physically but mentally as well, because you never get to relax. So having the nurses step in for a few hours to give us a break and know that we don’t have to worry about anything during that time, was just amazing. It gave us the strength to carry on.

“The nurses didn’t just help with mum, they helped with all of us. It’s horrific watching your loved one deteriorate in front of you and frightening if you’ve never been through that before. We had never had anyone explain what end of life exactly was.

“Towards the very end, when mum started to go in and out of consciousness, the nurses sat with us, calmed us down and explained everything that was happening, so we were prepared for her final days.

“It was mum that was dying, not us, but the Treetops nurses looked after me and the family and helped us through everything.”

Stevie died peacefully at home with her family at her side.

Aimee said:

“The week leading up to her death brought our family so much closer because of Treetops. The whole experience of mum passing was just made more bearable and because we had the support, it couldn’t have happened in a better way.

“We wouldn’t have been able to get through it without them being there. They were like our angels. They just took all the difficult stuff away, which as a family we desperately needed.”

Treetops Chief Executive, Julie Heath, explained the importance of the hospice’s annual Light Up A Life service:

“Grieving those who have died is always difficult. Light Up A Life is an opportunity for us all to take a few moments to remember someone special in our lives, reflect on the happier times we’ve shared and watch as the lights on our tree shine in their memory.

“We hope as many people as possible from across the city, county and further afield can join us online and see their dedication lights shine on Sunday 5 December.”

To dedicate a light or for more details about the virtual service, go to or call 0115 949 1264.


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