Pilgrims Hospice nurse Jo named as Westwood Cross Christmas treat winner after ‘difficult year’

Jo, Suzy and their families (Jo is third in, top left wearing the raspberry scarf)

A search by Westwood Cross shopping centre to find a special Thanet family deserving of a magical Christmas has ended with a winner.

Jo Karczewski, from Ramsgate, was voted into top place and was surprised yesterday (December 20) by Westwood Cross staff and close friend Suzy Bond.

Westwood Cross received hundreds of nominations for families who are in need of an amazing Christmas treat this year.

Jo, a nurse at Pilgrims Hospice, has had a particularly difficult year since being diagnosed with a grade four brain tumour in July. After weeks of radiotherapy treatment Jo is now focusing on planning her New Year wedding with her partner of four years.

Suzy, Jo’s friend and nominator, said: “Jo is such a kind person who is loved by everyone. We all want her to have an amazing Christmas and be shown what a wonderful person she is.”

Jo was surprised with a £500 Westwood Cross gift card, a family ticket to Santa’s Grotto and a hamper bursting with treats from stores at the Thanet shopping centre.

She said: “I can’t quite believe it! I have such a wonderful friend to do this and to even think of me and my family – thank you so much.”

Francesca Donovan, centre manager at Westwood Cross, said: “We wanted to celebrate a special family in our local community and truly share the festive magic. Jo was selected from hundreds of entrants following a particularly tough year.

“She has supported so many local families as her role as nurse at Pilgrims Hospice and with the support of our retailers, we wanted to make this Christmas an extra special one for her.”