Andrew’s story

“I feel at home at St Clare, I feel like I belong. It’s like going to a friend’s house…it’s comforting and familiar.”
Andrew Speed and family

“My first memory of St Clare was when my mum was very ill in 2004. At the time our family lived in North Weald, my sister Sarah, my mum Patricia, my dad Alan and I. My mum had battled cancer for many years but it was at Christmas time in 2004 when we found out that she had a brain tumour and that there was nothing more the hospital could do for her. I was 19 years old at the time and my sister Sarah was 21 years old.”

“My mum was in Old Church hospital when she was referred to St Clare. When my Dad told my sister and me that he wanted Mum to be cared for at St Clare, I just didn’t know what to expect. I had never heard of anyone going to a Hospice, and to be honest, I didn’t really know what hospices did. Our Dad was desperate for Mum to come to the hospice as he knew about the amazing care that they offered after having a family member stay there in the past.”

“Mum was transferred to St Clare overnight and so I went to visit her for the first time the next morning.”

“I remember walking in to St Clare and just thinking ‘Wow’ – it was just incredible. It was so clean, bright and peaceful.”

“All the staff made sure Mum was comfortable and pain free right to the end – and cared for our whole family. She died just a few days after arriving at St Clare. Little did we know that just two months later we would need St Clare’s help again.”

“It was about two weeks after Mum’s funeral that Dad called me and my sister Sarah into the living room to speak to us. He told us that he also had terminal cancer and that there wasn’t anything more that could be done for him. I just could not believe it; we had only just buried our Mum. Dad was very calm and incredibly brave throughout the whole thing. St Clare once again offered us support and I remember driving Dad to the hospice to attend the day therapy classes.”

“I was 19 years old at the time and I had to stop working and become Dad’s full time carer at home. We put a bed in the living room for him but he was a very stubborn man and in his eyes – he wasn’t ill. He still wanted to do everything himself and he didn’t want to use a wheelchair. I would have to bath him, shave him and help him up the stairs. It never bothered me, when it’s your dad you don’t even have to think about it, you just care for him. I think he was frightened to admit he was ill because my sister and I had just lost our mum and he didn’t want to leave both of his children on their own.”

Alan and Patricia Speed“Dad’s one wish was to have his last few days at St Clare and to have exactly the same funeral as my Mum.”

“I cared for my Dad at home at first but when he became too poorly and I could no longer cope, he said ‘it’s time I went to the hospice, Son’. When my Dad was admitted to St Clare, again the whole team were just amazing.”

“Everyone always had a smile on their face and nothing was ever too much trouble. My Dad had a great sense of humour and the carers would often banter with my Dad which always put a smile on his face. Even on the day he died he was sitting up cracking jokes with all of the nurses.”

“It was definitely better for him to be at St Clare rather than at home because he had the staff to talk to and laugh with. It was also easier for me to care for him there too, I used to come up at 7am and leave at 8pm at night. I’d be here all day with him because luckily there are no visiting hours.”

“St Clare is just so relaxing, homely and peaceful and nothing is ever too much trouble. Every time we came to visit Dad everyone was always so friendly and they were there to look after us, as well as dad.”

“My Dad stayed at St Clare for just over a week and passed away at the hospice just two months after my Mum.”

“We recently came back to St Clare in 2016 with our Grandad who they cared for. When I went to visit him all the memories came back to me. One of the nurses, Nicky, even remembered me and my sister Sarah after all these years. She said that she still thinks about our family all the time, which is lovely considering how many families she must have cared for over the years. It really is an amazing place.”

“I feel at home at St Clare, I feel like I belong here. It’s like going to a friend’s house or something, it’s comforting and familiar.”

“I work with people that have had friends and family members cared for by St Clare and we always talk about it like it’s home. When other people listen to us and don’t understand, I just tell them that they have to go to St Clare to understand, it’s just so nice.”

Andrew Speed in his London Marathon t-shirt“After all of the help St Clare has offered my family over the years I have decided that it’s time to fundraise for them and give something back. It is over 11 years on now and I have since lost my Aunt, my Nan and my Granddad, all to cancer. Cancer has always been a part of my live – it has just always been there.”

“This year I am doing the London Marathon for St Clare. The hospice is very close to mine, and my family’s, heart. The London Marathon is such an iconic race and I just can’t wait to get out there on the 23rd April. Thanks to St Clare, my parents were able to live the last few days of their life in a peaceful and painless environment, and I couldn’t feel more proud to put on that St Clare running vest and run those 26.2 miles in honour of my Mum and Dad.”

– Andrew

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