New Star Trekker tells her story - from the heart

12 June 2012

"I felt I need to write something... I don't know why...? People need to know, how will they if I dont say it from my heart"

Star Trekkin...

On the night of Saturday june 9th whilst most of you settled down to watch TV or head out, myself, my lovely Aunty; Julie Hull & my friend Emily Wood set off to walk 8 miles.  Leaving at 10pm we joined the sea of pink that meandered its way through the streets of Wigan. This is because 8 months ago; after a long and brave battle against cancer; my mum passed away atWigan and Leigh Hospice. This was my way of saying thank for the amazing care and support they provided and to help them  in their daily challenge of finding £4500 to fund such amazing care and support.

Nicola Smith

Nic, Julie & Emily

Taking part in the star Trekkers walk was an emotional but fantastic experience. Walking with hundreds of women all dressed in pink each with their own special Hospice connection and experience to share...

Peoples perceptions

When you hear the word hospice you immediately think the worst, I know, I have done it. But actually that should not be the case. Over the past 2 years my thoughts and understanding of the hospice have changed. Yes like most I had associated such a place with the loss of a loved one, a place where people went to die, but a hospice is much more. 

When faced with the news that she had cancer, my mum was naturally scared. As her treatment progressed and her life as she knew it began to change, she needed the support of others in a similar position, and this was our first experience of the hospice. Monday day centre became a regular date on the calendar. Chauffeur driven to the day centre by one of the amazing volunteers, greeted with tea and toast and a welcoming smile, followed by numerous activities and pampering sessions. All before a three course lunch and a good chat.  This was also a chance for mum to meet with other people in a similar circumstance and it was a chance for the dedicated team of doctors, nurses and other medical staff to review her condition and medication and provide the necessary advice and support. 

Our Journey

12 months later our experiences of the hospice continued. As mums illness became terminal, the support of the hospice proved even more vital. As treatment came to an end, palliative care was the next step. Weekly reviews of mum's condition at the day centre with the involvement of her family meant that life for mum was comfortable and normal as possible when faced with the fact time with our mum was limited.

As months progressed to weeks we found ourselves experiencing the hospice with mum as an in patient. The prospect of this was frightening for us all although no one would ever admit it at the time. But I need to tell you, we shouldn't have been. 

What an amazing place. For the next month and a day, a long time for an inpatient, the hospice became home. During this time I watched the worry and anguish lift from my mums face, she was able to enjoy her last few weeks with her family and friends around her, visiting her as and when was convenient for them. Mums needs where constantly met, from self care and emotional support, medication to watching her weekly rugby matches on sky sports!

Mums dignity

Her dignity was reserved and she was comfortable and happy. During my time with mum, I watched the dedicated staff provide care and support around the clock... They are never still! And nothing is ever too much trouble. The hospice not only did an amazing job of supporting and caring for mum, but also for me and my family. My sister accessed weekly counselling sessions and staff took the time to talk to us and explain everything. During her final few days, we never left mums side. No one even expected that we would, instead staff supported us and regularly offered us tea, toast and sandwiches, emotional support and prepared us as best they could for the inevitable,

The final goodbye.

On the 27th October 2011, my mum lost her fight. She passed away peacefully with her family at her side in the hospice. I miss her so much as she was a great mum and although I haven't always realised it, my best friend. 

As I walked down the corridor for the last time and smelled the smell that I can't explain but I call the hospice smell, I actually realised what a remarkable place it is and how privileged mum was to have such a place to spend her final weeks. 

Amazing place

I could spend hours and hours recalling my experiences of the hospice, every one as amazing as the next, but instead I will continue in my quest to support the Hospice not only to say thank you, but to allow others to have the same care and support they deserve. 


Watch Nicola's video

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