Christine Hurcomb, 43, is a St Catherine’s Hospice patient currently attending Day Hospice. Here, she shares her story and how the hospice have made a huge difference to her and her young family’s life:
“When I was first heard the words St Catherine’s Hospice I was apprehensive. For a long time I put off coming here as I wanted things to be as normal as possible. I’m a single mum to a nine year old daughter, and I had an idea in my head that people just came to St Catherine’s to die. That’s not the case though.
Since I’ve been diagnosed with secondary breast cancer, I’ve been coming to Day Hospice but I already knew about St Catherine’s before I was referred. My step-dad came here when he had lung cancer and the hospice were really supportive of him and our whole family including my mum.
Coming to Day Hospice gets me out the house as I can’t drive at the moment and it gives me ‘me time’. As a busy mum I don’t usually get that! At Day Hospice I know I’ll be looked after instead of being the one looking after everyone else. Sometimes that’s all I need – someone to think about me for a change.
All the staff are so caring and kind, everybody always stops to say hello and nothing I ask for is ever too much of a problem. They treat me with respect, do fun things and help to make me laugh. I know I can talk to the staff and other patients. Obviously people come and go, but it’s not all about my illness, people talk about other things too. I can relax here and not have to think oh people are staring because I’ve got no hair or anything like that.
While I’m here I take part in the afternoon art class too. It helps take my mind off things and is something that’s completely for me. I’ve not really done art before but the artist has very clever ideas and I feel like I’ve achieved something each week. My daughter’s very arty so she’s been to the hospice and helped with art and I enjoy showing her my weekly creations.
I also have Reiki, which helps relax me, and join in meditation but my care hasn’t stopped there. I’ve had counselling with the Patient and Family Support Team and Jackie in the Welfare Team has helped me with my finances too.
Sometimes I feel like I just couldn’t do without St Catherine’s. If I didn’t come here I’d be stuck at home trying to sort out things on my own and not having any time for me, so the hospice makes a big difference. It always feels like time goes quickly and I often don’t want to go home.
If you’re reading and need St Catherine’s help I know it’s daunting but all the staff are friendly and helpful and give you as much support as you need. Coming here will completely change the way you think about hospices.
And if you’re able to support St Catherine’s please do as much as you possibly can. Whether you give a donation or take part in a fundraising event it all helps the people who are looked after – people like me.
St Catherine’s is so caring and supportive and I really couldn’t have done without it.”