Dee was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer 5 years ago. She started using the services at Woking & Sam Beare Hospices after being sent a flyer outlining details of the Hospice activity. She is hugely complimentary about the volunteers and staff and describes her feelings:
“I still work full time so I take a day off work and I come here once a month to get away from it all. I like being unknown because I can talk about things without worrying what people will think. I am a single mum so I usually have to keep strong, smile and look after my son. I was diagnosed when he was 9; he is now 14 and it is still so hard explaining to him that although I’m in remission at the moment, this cancer will come back, because it’s incurable. It’s also hard to explain to people what is wrong with me because at the moment I am fortunate enough to look really well, so here I can be honest and frank about my condition and the staff listen, and will take action if they need to.
I have done so much with my life, I am very blessed. I often choose quantity over quality so I can fit lots in, but with the hospice, I am privileged to have real quality. The staff and volunteers are just amazing, they always have a hug for you and they are always happy.
So far I’ve used the Children’s Counselling and Day Care. I come for social events at Sam Beare and I attend ‘Feel Good Fridays’ at Woking Hospice where I can have a complementary therapy when, for a short while, my pain goes away. The Community Team also helped by giving me a wheelchair to use, which really opened up a whole new world of opportunity.
At first I wasn’t sure about whether to come to ‘Life Stories’ or not because it sounded quite morbid, but I’m glad I did because everyone here has shown me that it’s ok to plan for the end of my life. I feel truly lucky to have had such a wonderful life surrounded by so many good people and ‘Life Stories’ has brought back all of the memories of things I have done. I used to be an Investment Banker, which was really unusual for a woman in the 80s; I then completely retrained as a Higher Level Teaching Assistant, so I’ve included my CV in the box to show my colourful career. Doing ‘Life Stories’ is like group counselling because we are all talking and sharing our feelings.
I love my life and the Hospices are a huge part of this enjoyment. I think too many people think about hospice beds, which puts them off. For me it’s all about the Three Cs – Coffee, Chair and a Chat! I would be happy if a wider public understood that there is so much more to a hospice than bedrooms and hushed corridors and I think the New Build Project and additions such as the public café, will help more people engage with the Hospice in a different way.