Lucy's Story | The Hospice of St. Francis

Lucy's Story

Lucy does a sky dive for the Hospice

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“It took 20 minutes to get to 13,000 feet then the freefall lasted about 40 seconds… and then finally, the glide was 10 minutes – over too soon in my opinion! Truly amazing. I’d a hundred percent do it again and WILL do it again!”

Meet Lucy, mum of five, to Sadie (17), Emily (16), Charlie (15), Chloe (13), and Phoebe (10) – living in Hemel Hempstead with partner Lee - and not forgetting dogs: Frank, Betty and Jessica. She recently took part in a sponsored skydive at Hinton Skydiving Centre, (Brackley), raising a fantastic £1,012.50 for the Hospice! She describes the whole experience as ‘surreal and amazing’.

“Definitely do it,” she urges. “I thought I would be more scared – but I wasn’t. It definitely helps when everyone is so relaxed, which the team were. Everyone was fab. My instructor Stuart was awesome.

Being above the clouds is so surreal – you fall through them so quickly during the freefall. I also got the chance to steer and direct the parachute. The views were absolutely phenomenal.”

Embracing the adrenaline-fuelled fundraiser, Lucy took part in memory of her mum, 64-year-old Beverley, who died at the Hospice in (February 18th 2019).

Originally aiming for a target of £300 – when the news spread that Lucy was taking to the skies, her fundraising tripled to £900 and with Gift Aid, topped over a thousand pounds! HOW AMAZING!

 

“My only emotion I felt was about my lovely Mum and how she would have thought I was mad for doing something like this!  My sister Nicola was on board with the idea as soon as I’d mentioned about the idea… she secured my deposit!” 

She admits, “I was supposed to jump a few years prior in 2019, but because of COVID-19 it kept getting postponed. Then on the day the weather took a turn and became too overcast? I could not take part due to the conditions so we stayed at the centre and sat outside for lunch anyway.

A staff member then mentioned about the slot the following day, which I leaped at! So, back we were the next day for 8am when the training was scheduled. On the descent down, all I could hear is my sister and nephew screaming, “YAY – SHE’S DONE IT!!!”

Lucy’s mum, Beverley, was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour – ‘glioblastoma’ and began oral chemo and radiography for 12 months. In December 2018, she deteriorated and a scan showed the devastating news she only had six weeks to live. It was at this stage Beverley and her family were referred to the Hospice.

“Mum was quite confused due to the brain tumour but we made it our ultimate mission to make her really happy for those six weeks,” Lucy shares. “She loved eating cake and having afternoon tea – and we did a special family trip to Shendish Manor. We took many photos and reflected on memories; looking over old photo albums together.

At the Hospice, we were welcomed with warm arms.  My dad, Stephen, stayed by her side the entire time. They were together 48 years having met locally. My sister, Nicola, and her boys Maxwell and Alexander also visited along with my older brother Danny and his daughter Jaime, the eldest out of all the grandkids.

Before Mum’s referral to the Hospice, I had seen adverts for the Hospice. We had not taken part in many of the fundraising events (I had been part of a Zumbathon in Gadebridge a few years before…) but we were aware of the great value the Hospice has within the community.

I did not realise how beautiful the gardens were, nor how amazing the support from staff would be. All the IPU nursing staff were great – we did not know what to expect, but the team were so informative, taking time to explain medicines and how they were making Mum comfortable.

I remember Mum’s room had a door to the garden – we watched many squirrels, and walked the kids around the woodland trail. We tasted the delicious kitchen food lovingly prepared by Chris and the team. I would walk along the IPU corridor of an evening bare foot – the heated flooring warming my feet…”

Over the course of a few weeks, Beverley’s condition deteriorated and she was asleep for a lot of the day. Lucy’s youngest, Pheobe, named her Nanny ‘Sleeping Beauty’. Beverley passed away at the Hospice in February 2019 surrounded by her family. At her funeral there were three boards filled with photographs.

Lucy shares, “I would sum the Hospice up in three words: Caring – Amazing – Emotional. Since Mum’s death I have been back once to the Hospice for a memorial evening with Head of Spiritual Care, Ray – a year after she died.”