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Terminally ill woman makes final call to action to local businesses

Written by Samantha Lade, Donr

Published on Tuesday, 17th July 2018

Terminally ill woman makes final call to action to local businesses

A terminally-ill Derbyshire woman is spending her last few months campaigning to local businesses to provide greater security for terminally ill workers.

Jacci Woodcock, 60, from Milford, Derbyshire, was forced out of her job as an area sales manager three years ago after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.

Her wish is now that other terminally ill workers will not be dismissed as a result of their condition, as she was.

With the support of her Union and her local MP, Pauline Latham, Jacci started the Dying to Work campaign, which has since seen hundreds of employers nationwide sign up to its voluntary charter to prevent cases like hers happening in the future.

Jacci said: 'When I found myself in the position of being told I was terminally ill, I carried on working – it never entered my head not to carry on working – and then work started to put pressure on me to resign.

'So, I got my Union involved with my work situation and also personally went to my MP, Pauline, to say can you help me with this campaign?

'We're all doing our bit and working together and it's going very successfully.'

Jacci has now chosen to stop her medical treatment and is accessing the services of her local hospice, Treetops Hospice Care.

'I'm not afraid to talk about death because I've already planned my funeral, done my will and so on.

'I've been attending the Well-being Days and have really enjoyed coming here and meeting other people. I'm also looking at my end of life plan because I want to die at home, so that's the reason I've tapped into the services of Treetops.'

Jacci is very frank about what it is that she wants businesses, especially smaller and medium enterprises, to do: 'Not everyone who has a terminal diagnosis leaves work. Some work until they die. I never had a day off whilst at work. It's incredibly important to be the person you are.

'My message to businesses reading this is to tell me why you're not signing up? By not signing, you're sending a message that you don't value your workers.'

Since it's launch in April 2016, the Dying to Work Voluntary Charter now protects over half a million employees with larger companies such as Rolls Royce, Severn Trent Water, Royal Mail and E.On signing up.

Signing the Dying to Work Charter is just one part of a wider 'Compassionate Communities' project which Treetops is leading in Erewash and South Derbyshire.

Pauline Latham, MP for Derbyshire, said: 'Lots of firms are coming on board and I’ve also got a number of MPs to sign up to it as well as we’re all employers. 

'It’s all about getting the message out to people.'

Those interested in finding out more about the Dying to Work Charter and how to sign up can head to their website for more information. You can also find more information on Treetops by visiting their website.