Linda Newton, from Dronfield, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer early last year. She spent the last days of her life in the Inpatient Unit at Ashgate Hospicecare in November 2017. Her son, Dan Newton, hopes to raise thousands of pounds over the next few years so that more families like his can access hospice care when they need it.
Dan will be running the London Marathon in April and he will also be taking part in Ashgate Hospicecare’s Sparkle Night Walk on 7th July. Dan talks about the care his mum, Linda, received from the Hospice and asks that we consider donating to his Just Giving page this Mother’s Day to help care for more brilliant mums and their family members.
“My mum, Linda, lived a great life and had a big impact on a lot of people. She had lots of very close friends who she cherished and who brought her genuine happiness. She was a kind and warm-hearted person and she taught me that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Mum had been a constant throughout the whole of my life, supporting me every step of the way.
She was a hairdresser passionate about forging strong relationships with her clients. Whenever they came into the salon, they would talk about their lives and their families with her. She made every person who came in feel special.
When mum told me she had pancreatic cancer a year ago, it was very difficult to take. But her positive attitude was infectious and she took us all with her in thinking ‘what will be will be’. In the meantime, we all agreed to make the most of the time we have together.
She was determined to fight the cancer and so a few months later, mum braved the surgery to have her pancreas out. Unfortunately, this did not get rid of the cancer and she got progressively more unwell.
When mum was first admitted to Ashgate Hospicecare it was really hard for us, but we knew that this was the best place for her. She was in a lot of pain at that point and so we knew that she needed specialist hospice care.
On every one of the occasions I visited mum at the Hospice, I was made to feel very welcome. The staff were always attentive to my needs as well as mum’s. One moment I remember in particular was when I was sat in the reception area reading my book, giving mum a bit of rest from visitors, and one of the reception staff made me a cup of tea. The same scenario occurred a few days later and the same lady came up to me and said, “Strong tea with no sugar?” I nodded and two minutes later she came back through with the drink.
Another thing that was very important to me was that the doctors would always look me in the eye whenever they were giving information. They understood the impact the information they were giving could have on me and they came across as very honest and caring whenever they spoke to me.
Although mum was in pain, she was made as comfortable as possible and that was thanks to the people here. So much time was given to help mum readjust the position she was in on the bed, to listen to her and to understand how she was feeling. The staff did all they could to make things better for her. Mum wanted her family and close friends around her and, whenever it was possible, they helped to make that happen.
She lost her appetite whilst she was there, but she did enjoy the lemon sorbets. Even if it wasn’t on the menu that day, the staff did what they could to try to find one for her.
About 250 people came to the service we had for her life; a testament to the strong friendships that she made throughout her life. My brother and I spoke about the good times and the life lessons that mum had taught us and as people were leaving the church, they told us that they couldn’t agree more with what we had said and told us lots of amazing stories of my mum that really resonated with them.
Although I miss mum today and have missed her every day since November, I feel very lucky to have had 38 years with her and for that I am hugely grateful. The world is quieter and less colourful without her.
Her legacy for me is to always believe in myself and to be courageous, to regularly go beyond my comfort zone and be the best I can possibly be. That’s why I’m running the London marathon. It will be very challenging, but I want to do it to prove to myself that I can do it, and I want to do it for my mum.
I want to raise as much money as possible so that every family who needs hospice care can get it. It’s important to me to do this as a small gesture of thanks to every member of staff who helped to care for mum and for being so kind to us. We want to say thanks to the staff for treating mum with great care and respect and for their efforts and attention. I know that by raising this money I’m helping to ensure that others can receive such excellent care. In the circumstances, you couldn’t wish for more for your mum.”
Please donate today and help to ensure that Ashgate Hospicecare can keep caring for more brilliant mums and their family members.