Help us care for more people like Rod

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s certainly true of this beautiful photo of Rod with his daughter Katy and dear grandsons Cameron and Findlay, taken in the garden at the Hospice earlier this year.

The photo captures a special moment for the family in the midst of a challenging year – the joy on Rod’s face as he holds his grandson’s hand and the pride and love which is clear to see. For us this photo sums up what hospice care is about, far more than any words we could use – it’s about enabling loved ones to spend precious moments together – and that’s why we need your help.

This Christmas we are appealing for donations to help purchase 12 new syringe pumps for the Hospice – a vital piece of equipment which helps us to manage symptoms and pain, and helps keep patients more comfortable. Your donation really will make a difference to the people we care for.

Rod stayed with us on our Inpatient Unit for several weeks in early summer for symptom and pain management for advanced prostate cancer. His daughter Katy describes what the care at St Luke’s meant to the whole family…

Katy’s story

“We’ve always supported St Luke’s but it wasn’t until my Dad became quite ill over the past year that we came to understand just how important the Hospice is. My dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer eight years ago, so we’ve had him for a lot longer than we initially thought at diagnosis. My eldest son was just six weeks old when my dad collapsed at work and was told the devastating news that he had cancer and it had already spread to his bones. The last few years have been hard medically for my dad as he has gone through chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but it’s only in the last year that his health has really declined.

When a stay at St Luke’s was suggested, I was very apprehensive. I guess I had preconceptions in my head about what a hospice would be like. The reality was that I couldn’t have been more impressed. It was so light and airy and the facilities were modern, but it was the staff that really made it. It sounds a strange thing to say but the doctors and nurses welcomed us like family, and the love and affection they showed my dad was incredible. They had a laugh and a joke with him and the rapport they built over the weeks he was there was lovely to see. I have the utmost admiration for the amazing job they all do.

My two boys Cameron (8) and Findlay (5) are very close to their grandad and wanted to see him while he was in the Hospice, but I was worried it might be a difficult experience. The nurses were so welcoming though and they arranged visits outside, either wheeling my Dad into the garden in his bed or his wheelchair. They even brought ice lollies out for the children, they couldn’t have been kinder.

My dad has an immaculate garden at home and the boys always enjoy spending time with him there, so it was lovely for the boys to see their grandad in the garden at the Hospice. We were able to do things that we would have done with him at home, like look at the plants and bird feeders. It’s so hard for children when they’re young to process these things but the Hospice garden felt a very natural environment for them and it gave them such a positive experience of visiting their grandad, and it was so important for my dad to see his grandchildren and still have those connections.

My dad’s stay at St Luke’s was also really important for my mum as it gave her a break from caring for him. As any carer knows, it can be very hard looking after someone round the clock, so it gave my mum a break and the comfort of knowing that he was receiving such good care. My mum and dad live for their family. They’ve been married for 54 years, and have four children and six grandchildren they absolutely adore. I’m so lucky to have been raised in a family like that, where family is everything.

We are so grateful to St Luke’s for the care and support we have all received. When the time comes it is dad’s wish to die at the Hospice and we know he will be in the best hands. You never know when you are going to need the services of St Luke’s, but it’s such a comfort to know it is there for the community. You can’t put into words what a difference it makes to families at such a difficult time in their lives. To know that your loved one will be treated with dignity, respect and love is the best you could wish for if you find yourself in that situation. Please support St Luke’s this Christmas so that more families like mine can make the most of precious time together.”

We are so grateful to Katy and her family for allowing us to share their experiences of St Luke’s. As a small local charity we only receive 15% of our funding from the government, which means our care is only possible thanks to the kind support of our community. If you are able, please consider supporting our Christmas appeal – together we can make a difference when it matters most. Please click here to make a donation.

Thank you

Kate Henshaw
St Luke’s Matron