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appearance – in the Hospice’s Spring Centre, which really lifted my spirits. I also started physiotherapy to give me the con dence and determination to start getting back on my feet. Mentally, that was a really important breakthrough for me.
With school out for summer, Rob brought the boys up to see
me at least once a day, along with family photos and cards from well-wishers to put in my room. Joe even put his grade one guitar certi cate on my wall, which meant so much to me. The Hospice felt like home.
We’d chat or they’d watch TV in the Patients’ Lounge. They loved the scrambled egg and chips the kitchen sta  made for them, and they enjoyed exploring the gardens and sitting in the Storyteller’s Chair.
Family and friends came to visit and one sunny Sunday, Jo, one of the nurses, brought in her horses – the ones the Hospice uses for its Pony Days for children facing loss. They took me outside in my wheelchair to stroke them. It’s
a moment I’ll never forget – it brightened up my whole day.
I’d heard about the Hospice and its fundraising events but I’d never really understood what it was for. I couldn’t believe somewhere like it existed and that I was lucky enough to be in it.
“The Hospice has never failed to continue its care for me”
They cared for me so well and made me feel special but the biggest thing they gave me was my independence and the con dence to know I could go home.
Saying goodbye to the sta  I’d bonded with over six weeks was hard and I worried that I’d forget to take my pills correctly. Back home, I did struggle for the  rst few months. I had low moments, I was scared of the tumour growing and spreading, but having a loving family and good friends has kept me strong and positive and the Hospice has never failed to continue its care for me.
After questioning whether I’d ever walk again, weekly physiotherapy in the Spring Centre gym has got me back on my feet, walking much quicker than I ever imagined – and without the aid of equipment!
I’m still having regular one-to-one therapy for the times when I need to talk about things to someone other than Rob or my family.
I’ve also joined weekly activities like Knit and Natter and art therapy classes, I’ve had complementary therapy massages and enjoyed quizzes and social groups, where I’ve been able to meet others and have fun.
I can never thank the Hospice enough for helping me heal at such a critical time in my recovery and giving me back my life. Without it, I don’t know what I’d have done.
I feel strong, determined and incredibly positive about my cancer and the future and have recently found out that thanks to drug treatment I’ve been on since last August, my spinal tumours have not only stopped growing, but seem to have shrunk a little too.
My oncologist’s prognosis for my health has been completely turned on its head and it’s down to meditating, trusting the universe, having faith that my angels are looking after me and just knowing that there are lots of people at the Hospice I can turn to if I feel worried about anything at all.”
Hospice thanks outgoing
In February we said a fond farewell to Charlie Toner, Chairman of our Board of Trustees, who stepped down from o ce after reaching the end of his six-year term.
Charlie, a former Deputy Chief Executive of Santander, joined the Board in 2009 and his top- ight experience of big business has helped shape several milestones in the Hospice’s development, from the opening of our fourteenth bed and launch of our outpatient Spring Centre to the expansion of our home-care services in the community.
“The Hospice helps so many patients and their families in such a caring way – and I’ve been proud to be able to help,” said Charlie.
Hospice CEO, Steve Jamieson, said, “Charlie has had an enormous impact on the development and strategic direction of the Hospice and has helped it grow into a highly-respected and well-loved organisation.”
Charlie’s successor is former Treasurer to the Board, Alison Woodhams, who has worked in senior  nance posts at the BBC and University College London.
“I’m proud to take on this role to continue
shaping the future of an organisation that
delivers excellent end-of-life care and support to so many patients and families in our community,” she said.
Kim’s candles give Aunty a lift
A treasure trove of glassware hidden in a loft gave Kim O’Connor the perfect way to thank the Hospice and lift her aunty, home- care patient, Maria Dockery’s spirits.
Kim transformed the glasses into beautiful hand-made glitter candles, decorated with the Hospice’s distinctive logo, and sold by Maria, 55, to family, friends and colleagues and at local pubs and clubs near her Abbots Langley home.
“The Hospice has done an amazing job of supporting my Aunty Maria since she was diagnosed 11 years ago with what’s now, very sadly, terminal cancer,” said Kim.
”This is my small way of giving something back and giving Aunty a lift with a little bit of sparkle.
“The £270 we’ve raised will help the Hospice support more patients like Aunty and that’s great. She so looks forward to her Community Nurse, Julie Brown’s visits, and Consultant Dr Neil Pender, has really helped put her mind at rest over treatment options going forward.”
Kim (right) with Maria and Community Nurse Specialist, Julie Brown (left)
Read more about how we support people in their own homes here:

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