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Culture

Google Doodle marks hospice pioneer Dame Cicely Saunders' 100th birthday

Saunders founded the first modern hospice in 1967.

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Dame Cicely Saunders believed that everyone should live with "a sense of fulfillment and a readiness to let go."

Google

Dame Cicely Saunders would have celebrated her 100th birthday on Friday, so Google Doodle took the opportunity to remind us of her work

The English woman worked as a nurse, a doctor, a writer and a social worker, but is best remembered for her role in creating the modern hospice movement.

As a 29-year-old in 1948, she fell in love with a patient who was dying of cancer. He left her £500, with which she started a fund to set up St Christopher's Hospice in south London in 1967.

Cicely Saunders

Saunders receives her Doctorate of Medicine from Dr Coggan, Archbishop of Canterbury, at Lambeth Palace in London in 1977.

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The hospice focused on pain-management and an understanding of patients' practical, medical and psychological needs. It inspired hundreds of similar institutions worldwide and Saunders' teachings formed the basis of palliative care for those with terminal illnesses.

In 1977, she was awarded an honorary Lambeth doctorate and Queen Elizabeth II bestowed with the title Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1979. She also established global charity Cicely Saunders International, which focuses on palliative care research and education.

Saunders died of cancer in 2005, at St. Christopher's Hospice, aged 87. The Doodle marking her birthday today is running in the UK only.