Brian’s story

“The place and its surroundings have such a unique, tranquil atmosphere – there is nothing better. And it’s the warmth of the people here that make it St Clare”
Brian on our Inpatient Unit with wife Carole

I stayed at St Clare’s Inpatient Unit for the first time a number of years ago. The Hospice’s Inpatient Unit was quite new then. I was referred here by Erica Martin – who still works as a clinical nurse specialist at St Clare – and I stayed on the Inpatient Unit for 15 days.”

“I was fearful of the Hospice at first. I didn’t know, then, what it was really like. All you ever heard about a hospice was that it was where you went to die. Erica convinced me to come, though, and I discovered what hospice care is really all about. Even though I’d had such bad news, I eventually found that I felt OK because I was at St Clare. Although I was very ill, inside I felt a million dollars because I had someone caring for me and looking after me.”

“The place and its surroundings have such a unique, tranquil atmosphere – there is nothing better. Yet, it’s the warmth of the people here that make it St Clare – not the walls, doors and windows…”

“When I first came in, I met Doctor Abbas with one of the nurses, Kim. They were all excellent. And the first thing that they did for me was get my medication right.”

“It was brilliant. Within 2 or 3 days I started to pick up. It triggered me to become fitter, and fitter, and eventually I was able to go home.”

“Unfortunately, my cancer has just come back for the fourth time now, thankfully low-grade, after 4 or 5 years of being cancer-free. Yet, the treatment I’ve received at my local hospital has been brilliant, and I’ve been really lucky with St Clare, too.”

“The Hospice has continued to help me, and my wife, throughout this entire journey.”

Brian sitting on the patio on the Inpatient Unit

“During my third round of cancer treatment, I stayed on St Clare’s Inpatient Unit for a second fortnight. It helped to get my pain under control again and also helped my wife, Carole, to have a break from looking after me. She’s been brilliant, and without her, I wouldn’t be here. Carole used to attend a carers’ group once a week at St Clare, doing all sorts of things – sometimes art activities. It was useful for her because she found support in the like-minded people she met there, as they could all understand what each other were going through.”

“After that, I received Day Therapy care from St Clare, too, and now I attend the Next Steps group once a month.”

“Next Steps is a group for people who would like to continue visiting the Hospice after their Day Therapy course is complete – so you can keep in touch with St Clare. It’s a lovely group. We’re all like-minded people and therefore we get on very well. We understand each other’s highs and lows.”

“I’ve also had one to one counselling at St Clare to help me cope with my depression – and it was excellent. I can’t express how good it was, and what a great help it was to me during those dark months. It lasted about 10 weeks, and we’d write things down and discuss how I felt. I’d become frightened to say things to Carole about my cancer, but St Clare helped me to talk about things at my own pace. It was really special.”

“Attending Day Therapy has given me more than just the ability to manage my illness. I’ve made so many special memories.”

“We’ve had parties at St Clare, and beautiful, special evening meals cooked by the chef, Ed, with music and our families there too. It’s been lovely.”

Brian's pot

“Yet, the most poignant thing about my Day Therapy would probably be when I attended an art class. It helped me to discover a hidden love for art and painting! I was inspired to start painting garden pots, and I continue my hobby now. I like to create abstract designs on the pots, using tape and acrylic paint.”

“These pots turned out to be a bit of a success. In fact, so far I’ve raised £6,000 for St Clare from selling, auctioning and raffling the pots. On one magical night, I raised £800 from one pot by auctioning it at an event at my boating club. I had sailed with most of the sailors there, and they were very generous. I came out of that night with nearly £1,500 in donations for St Clare.”

“I like to fundraise and support St Clare because the care and professionalism that I’ve experienced has been wonderful – absolutely wonderful. It’s a really nice, lovely feeling, knowing that I am giving something back to St Clare.”

“Every single person that I’ve met at St Clare has been brilliant. You can ask any of the Day Therapy patients and I know they will all say the same thing.”

– Brian

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