Because of you...

Stuart and his family received the best care

“Over the last few years Stuart had experienced stomach troubles but the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong. Last summer he came in from a round of golf and joked that he needed to get fitter as he was a little breathless,” remembers his wife Sally.

“We were due to go on holiday in September but he went back one last time just to check everything was okay. A nurse felt his stomach and felt something that didn’t feel quite right. He was given the news that he had pancreatic cancer and, devastatingly, it was inoperable.

They didn’t make their holiday. Stuart’s illness took hold and his health declined quickly.

“It was a deeply stressful time for me. I tried to get help wherever I could but I received conflicting information and advice. It was difficult to know what to do for the best.”

In November they received their first call from Prospect Hospice. “Julie called me and we went through all Stuart’s medication, how he was feeling and generally how he was. I felt really good after that call. It was positive and she said someone else would be in touch soon. Sophia called not long after and started to organise a new medication regime that she felt would work better. She also gave me a phone number that I could call at any time of day and someone would answer. It was so nice to know I could speak to someone and wasn’t reliant on answer machines.

“Shortly after, the family support team got in touch and arranged a blue badge and attendance allowance. That’s a complicated form to complete – I’d tried. I felt really supported knowing someone had done this for me and it was ready to use.

“Stuart declined further and couldn’t take his medication. Pauline from the hospice came out as Sophia wasn’t able to and she asked us if we’d take a bed at the hospice if one was available. We’d discussed him being cared for at home but all felt that the inpatient unit was the best option for him and us. The next day Sophia called and we made the necessary arrangements to get him to the hospice.

“It was such a relief for me when we arrived as professionals would now be taking over his care. He was very sick and it was distressing for both him and me. It was a relief that he was now being cared for.

“I remember knowing his final few days must be close as he began quite a decline. His eyes closed and he started to breathe much slower. Around 3am, the nurse suggested I might want to get the family in so I knew we didn’t have long.”

Sally and her boys took shifts to be with Stuart so he was never alone before he died on Tuesday 25 January 2022. The time from the cancer diagnosis to the end of his life spanned just four months.

“The hospice experience for me was such a caring one – not just for Stuart but for all of us. The staff had time for us and nothing was too much trouble. It’s never going to be a nice experience but they made it as good as it can be.”

Because of you...

It’s because of you that we were able to care for Stuart in his last days. Without you, we won’t be there for others like him.

To donate, and help care for local people at the end of their lives, click below.