“When someone you love has an illness that can’t be cured, life suddenly becomes full of uncertainties.
“When our 35-year-old daughter, Michelle, was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour almost six years ago, our world was turned upside down. Everything we thought we had to look forward to in life disappeared overnight. Replaced instead with endless worry and anxiety over what the future might now hold.
“Facing the unknown is very hard. Not knowing exactly what’s going to happen to Michelle is a constant shadow hanging over us, which is why we are so thankful to have St Clare always there at our side as we navigate this overwhelming time. They are the people we can count on when it feels like everything else is unravelling.
“For our family, the support we have so gratefully received from the Hospice team has been an absolute blessing. Having access to the specialist help and support that Michelle needs has made all of our lives easier, calmer and happier. Visits from the Hospice at Home team have taken the strain of caring for Michelle off our shoulders, allowing me and my husband to simply be Michelle’s mum and dad again. Something that she desperately wanted.
“Michelle has developed such a wonderful bond with the St Clare nurses and healthcare assistants who come out to wash, dress and make her feel like herself again. They are just fantastic, delivering care where it counts and doing everything they can to ease people’s pain and bring comfort. They have so much empathy for the people they care for and hearing them chatting and giggling with Michelle is just wonderful. We couldn’t ask for more.
“When it feels like your world is falling apart, St Clare is there to wrap you up in their arms. They have been a calming, steadfast presence for us all in what can at times feel like a sea of turmoil. As part of Michelle’s fight with this terrible illness, we’ve all had tattoos – a grey ribbon for brain tumour awareness alongside a white butterfly in memory of her two grandads and the words ‘I’ve got you’ because that’s what we – and the St Clare team – always say to her. I think that’s a wonderful sentiment.
“We know we are the lucky ones to have the Hospice by our side. And when the time comes, and if there is a bed available for her, Michelle has already told us that her wish is to die at the Hospice, surrounded by the love of the St Clare team who have made her feel so safe, comforted and in control. But there are many more like us who are not so fortunate. They too deserve the skilled, compassionate care that only St Clare can give.
“The one thing families like mine wish for is the one thing, unfortunately, that St Clare cannot give us – more time. But, they can continue being there for us when it matters the most, giving us time to make memories, share a meal together, tell stories and to simply be together. For our family, and all those others out there like us, there is nothing more important.”
– Debbie, Michelle’s mum
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Click the button below to donate to the Always There campaign, so we can continue to be Always There for families like Michelle’s, now and into the future.