Michael’s story

“’Amazing’ just seems like such a standard word when you try to describe St Clare. There are just no words that could put a title on what St Clare did for us. Everyone that knows St Clare says the same.” 

“My Dad was always a very active man, he would go skiing three times a year, he ran a successful construction business and he praised my Mum down to the ground. Everything was going well and Dad was healthy, as far as we knew, and then out of nowhere his speech started to change and he started to act out of character.”

“It was 15th June 2015 when Dad was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma Multiforme brain tumor. It came as a complete shock and we had no idea what to expect as we had never experienced anything like this in our family before.”

“It was only 2 weeks after Dad was diagnosed that he became paralysed, he couldn’t do anything for himself. It was up to me, my Mum and my brother to nurse him, as well as continuing to work our full time jobs. The worst memory I have is the first time I had to carry my dad up the stairs, because he realised he couldn’t walk up them – it was just dreadful.”

“As a family we struggled for 9 months, carrying him up the stairs, washing him and getting him dressed. We would all get up at the crack of dawn to help out, and by the time we all got home from work we were shattered. We never even had a spare 5 minutes to sit down as a family and actually think about what we were doing – we just got on with it. Then we found St Clare.”

“Dad was referred to St Clare through his GP and started to come to the Day Therapy sessions on Fridays. Dad had to give up his business because of his illness so he would just sit at home by himself all day, just staring out of the window until one of us came home from work. The whole family were so pleased when Dad started coming to St Clare as it gave him something do to, and gave him a chance to get out of the house.”

“Dad would be in such a good mood every Friday because he knew he was coming to St Clare. He loved meeting the other guys – other people in the same situation as him. You could see the relief on his face when he came home – he would be like a completely different person. The best thing for him was learning that he wasn’t alone – and that other people were on the same kind of journey.”

“Dad had such special moments in Day Therapy and he made good friends, which was amazing. Friday was just the best day of the week! Dad knew that he could rely on someone from St Clare to come and collect him from home, and Mum would be happy too because she knew that he was out enjoying himself and making new friends.”

“Dad went to St Clare for Day Therapy for 6 weeks and soon after he finished he became really ill and was deteriorating quite quickly. Dad had a seizure at home and was rushed into London Bridge hospital – it all went downhill from there really. The hospital told Dad that there was nothing more they could do for him. It felt like a ticking time bomb that is just waiting to go off. We knew the inevitable was going to happen, but we didn’t know when. It was a really hard time for all of us.”

“The hospital organised for us to have a special bed moved into our living room so that we could care for Dad again at home. But we all felt so stressed at the thought of having to go through it all again, caring for Dad at home by ourselves. I was ready to quit my job in London to help care for him full time, but we were all in tears with the worry of how we were going to cope.”

“The whole time my Dad was in hospital he was begging us to take him to St Clare – that’s all he would talk about. A doctor from the hospital noticed how stressed we were as a family and got in contact with St Clare for us. Before we knew it we had an appointment with a specialist nurse called Louise who invited us to come in to have a look around the hospice.”

“The moment my Mum and I walked in to St Clare we just felt all the pressure on us lift – it was like a breath of fresh air. As Louise went through all the ways St Clare could help us, my Mum just burst in to tears with relief. We finally realised we were not on our own anymore.”

“Louise spoke to us about the different options – like having Hospice at Home care – but we knew as a family that Dad wanted to be at St Clare, and that was the right option for us.”

“The next day Dad came in to St Clare and the moment he arrived you could see the instant relief on his face. His face just said, ‘I’m home’ – and St Clare really did feel like our home. It was just amazing.”

“The whole family just basically moved in to St Clare! I felt more comfortable at St Clare than I did in our own home. You get so caught up in the community at St Clare, and before I knew it I was walking around with the tea trolley making everyone hot drinks. We could all stay over at the hospice if we wanted to and Mum could sleep in the room with Dad. All of the staff were there for the whole family too. If we had a bad moment, the nurses and volunteers were all there for us.”

“St Clare was just an absolute God send for our family. St Clare gave me the opportunity to actually spend quality time with my Dad, instead of running around trying to care for him. We could just be father and son again.”

“The nurses at St Clare are literally like Power Rangers, they were just amazing. I can’t even explain what a relief it was for my Mum knowing that they were taking care of him.”

“We were crumbling so bad before we came to St Clare, we were breaking as a family. We had all the pieces of a family but we didn’t know how to put them together. St Clare helped us fit the puzzle back together and make us complete. They helped us learn how to have that family bond again. St Clare was like the glue that helped us stick back together.”

“Dad passed away on the 17th June at St Clare. It was a hot summer’s day and me, my Dad and my brother Rob were all just sat watching the football together in Dad’s room. The nurses brought us in some beers which is exactly what we needed – we just chilled out together like a normal family. And after the football had finished, Dad just drifted off, it was quite surreal.”

“Now I don’t think about the day Dad died though, I think about all the good times we had before Dad was ill. We had so many good memories – 21 years’ worth together. But I know that if I do ever have a dark day, I can always rely on St Clare to be there for me and my family. Even now St Clare keeps in touch with us – the care never stops.”

“I’m so proud to say that I was able to have Dad stay at St Clare because he absolutely loved it. St Clare feels like our second home and I feel like my Dad is here which is comforting.”

“I don’t come to St Clare often now, but when I drive past, I just have a little look and I smile. I don’t drive past and feel sad because Dad died here; I drive past and smile because I know that there are hundreds of other people that are getting help there like my family did.”

“I had always petrified of the thought of hospices before I came to St Clare. I’d never really had to deal with them prior to Dad being ill. I just thought it was about death and dying – similar to a hospital but a lot worse. Then when I came to St Clare I couldn’t believe how wrong I was.”

“’Amazing’ just seems like such a standard word when you try to describe St Clare. There are just no words that could put a title on what St Clare did for us. Everyone that knows St Clare says the same.”

“The only pain I feel now is the thought that there are people out there going through what my family went through, but without the support of St Clare. I want to make everyone aware that they can get in touch with somewhere like St Clare. No one needs to suffer like that, and it pains me to think that there could be people out there that could benefit from St Clare that aren’t.”

“If it wasn’t for St Clare I can guarantee that my family wouldn’t be where we are now, and I want more families to be able to say the same.”


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