Hospice Voices

Andie's story

At the age of 50, a terminal illness has forced Andie to give up her nursing job, but attending Hospice Day Service has lead her to find a whole new inspiration. She tells how the Service helped her in a very special celebration of life:

“The Hospice Day Service has been so important for me in the two years since I started coming in. My visits twice a week and the events in which I take part give me a reason to carry on. But never more so than this year.

In March I turned 50 and decided that I was going to fulfil my bucket list and take on the challenge of ‘50 things for my 50th year’. With the support and guidance of the team at the Day Service, I set about it.

My must-do list ranged from dancing in the rain to dining at the Ritz. Everything I did was an achievement to me, particularly as my health changed throughout the year. If I had to pick the highlights they would be seeing the Northern Lights, doing a husky ride, walking over the O2 and doing the ‘Run or Dye’ 5k run.

The 5k was particularly special. I was doing it with my friends from Slimming World who helped me achieve another goal of losing 6 ½ stone to reach my target weight, but I was in hospital just two weeks before the event and wasn’t sure if I would be able to participate. Thankfully I did and had a great time!

Thanks to all the support from staff and volunteers at the Hospice, I’m delighted to say I succeeded in completing the ‘50 things for my 50th year’ and raised over £800 for Hospice in the Weald. I’m currently working on a photo album now that I’ve finished the challenge, to capture the memories of as many of the activities as I can.

The Hospice provides such a vital service. The creative expression and art therapy have been a real help to me, I think creative expression has been the most beneficial thing I’ve ever done. We do a range of activities, from painting to writing stories. At first I thought that I wouldn’t enjoy it, but it’s very therapeutic. I always feel calmer afterwards. The activities bring out your feelings, sometimes subconsciously, and it allows me to tackle worries or thoughts I might not want in a gentler way. It’s also really developed my skills and confidence, I enjoy oil painting now which I never did before! It’s just another example of how the Hospice has helped me try new things.

I also really enjoy the social aspect of Hospice Day Service, I get to see the same friendly faces as well as meeting new people. There is such a deep level of respect for each person, just sharing your experience with others can feel very supportive. I know I am not the only one who thinks the Day Service at Hospice in the Weald is just amazing in helping us to make the most of the time we have, in whatever way we choose.”