“My perceptions were the same as everyone else’s – I thought it was just a place people go to die. I just didn’t know any better, but I couldn’t have been further from the truth. From the moment we arrived at the Hospice we were welcomed – me and my family. Within no time at all I felt relaxed, which I hadn’t felt in a very long time. Being on the Ward lifted something from me and I could be myself again.”
“I was first referred to the Hospice by the palliative care team at Maidstone Hospital. The whole thing came as a total shock. In June, after a CT scan, I was told I was doing ok, my cancer and condition was relatively stable. Two months later, I was told I only had months to live. The shock was unbelievable. I was told that the Hospice could be the next step to help. I had the weekend in Hospital to think it over. I knew I couldn’t go straight home, I was too unwell and our house isn’t set up for my current needs. However, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to the Hospice. My perceptions were the same as everyone else’s – I thought it was just a place people go to die. I just didn’t know any better, but I couldn’t have been further from the truth. From the moment we arrived at the Hospice we were welcomed – me and my family. Within no time at all I felt relaxed, which I hadn’t felt in a very long time. Being on the Ward lifted something from me and I could be myself again.”
“It’s not in human nature to accept that you’re going to die, but we all will one day. Unfortunately, I’ve been given a head start. So, I need to make every day count. I’ve done that so far. The Hospice organised a spa day for my daughter and I, in the summer house, and a family dinner. The volunteers and staff got involved and made these things happen for me and my family. And friends of my son really wanted to do something for me and came up with a wonderful idea. Jack and David are currently touring the UK in Dad’s Army Radio Show and they came to do a performance for me, my family and friends, and anyone else at the Hospice. It was brilliant.
I’ve always loved doing crafts and over the last few years my best friend Ivy and I have been crafting non-stop. Although we thought we would have many more years together creating, we are now coming up with lots of exciting things to donate to the Hospice Christmas Market, and more. We have fundraised for the Hospice in a few different ways now. I want to say thank you and helping others has always been important to me. When I was referred to the Hospice, I asked my consultant whether anyone else might need the room more than me. The Hospice has provided a light for me at one of the darkest times, and my donations will help them do that for others too. Donating to the Christmas market is particularly special. Making things that people will use to celebrate Christmas is a very positive way to support the Hospice and do something I enjoy.”
This time has been incredibly hard on my family, but the care from the Hospice has helped. Being able to have these special days together has been so important.
The key thing I’ve noticed about the Hospice is trying to make things as normal as possible. Having chats or doing my crafts I can forget about being unwell. We have a big group of family and friends and its been so lovely having them come to visit, knowing they are taken care of. I also have someone stay with me every night, chatting, watching TV and still making memories. At the Hospice, I don’t ever feel alone.”
Sarah featured in our Christmas Appeal in 2019 and was also featured on the BBC News South East talking about her experiences. Sarah died early 2020 surrounded by her loved ones on the In-Patient Ward.