Alexandra's dad was diagnosed with cancer and a Hospice in the Weald patient. Here Alexandra explains which role the Hospice played in this difficult time and what she undertook to support the work of the Hospice.
Dad passed away 2015 taken far too early by the horror that is cancer. To say that we miss him and think of him daily is no exaggeration. I remember during the period that Dad was very ill at home, Mum mentioned that there were these lovely people at the Hospice that she could ring at any time day or night and they would be able to give her advice and help over the phone and assist with pain medication if needed. She also had a hospice nurse visiting to check on both of them which gave my sister and I a lot of comfort. Having met and seen all the support this amazing place was giving us, when Dad told me he was ready to leave home and go to the Hospice it was a relief that he would be in the best possible place for the final stage.
Although the time was awful, the Hospice was phenomenal. The nurses and doctors treated Dad with a huge amount of respect, love and care, even the Hospice chef was coming in to see Dad to offer to make him anything he wanted to eat. These fantastic people do all this knowing they cannot cure their patients but they do make life as comfortable as possible in their final days. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble for the lovely staff and they are incredibly kind and gentle to both patients and their loved ones alike. We were given a huge amount of support too and kept totally in the loop throughout. Having places like the garden and Labyrinth to walk around when it was all getting a bit overwhelming is a real haven, the Hospice is brilliant but it is still an horrific period in your life and sometimes space, fresh air and nature is what you need. It is simply the best place to be at the worst time.
Once Dad passed the hospice remained in touch and has a lot of ‘after’ support services to help with the process of grieving and to remember those they looked after. That the hospice does all of this without any government funding is just unbelievable.
As a result of all this I signed up to do a ridiculous challenge of a half Ironman in that well known flat(!) county of Yorkshire in September. This was probably not an intelligent thing and became less so when I got knocked off my bike training and ended up with a possible broken wrist, drugs and adrenalin are what will get me through the event regardless. What has been amazing is during the fund raising period I have received sponsorship from some very unexpected corners, people who I have not been in touch with for years but who know of the hospice and will support any event that is being done to raise money for it, it is incredibly humbling. I look forward to getting to the final leg of the half ironman (for many reasons!) but not least to don my hospice running vest for the final 13 miles, I’m sure it will give me the boost I need to push through to the end.