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Rob’s Story

Every donation matters because every person matters. Hopefully Rob’s story gives you some insight into the difference Ashgate Hospicecare makes to real people. The sad truth is that there are people who need our services but we will be unable to meet this growing demand until we grow our income. Every £1 raised or donated brings us one step closer to caring for our next patient, someone who really needs us and their family who really need our support.

£5,000 enables us to care for a patient and provide support to their family. I’m sure you will agree having watched this video that every person deserves the level of care that, Carol, Rob’s Mum received. Our next patient is reliant on us raising our next £5,000 so please give what you can.

We will keep asking until every person in north Derbyshire has access to hospice care when they need it most.

Carol Suter from Killamarsh was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in October 2011. In November she had part of her stomach lining removed and had a hysterectomy. By December she had recovered from surgery and had her first chemotherapy session, but a week later a major stroke left her paralysed and unable to speak. Carol was admitted to hospital and was given a life expectancy of just six months. It was at this point that a palliative care nurse at the hospital suggested a transfer to Ashgate Hospicecare. Carol’s son Rob explains how the hospice made the harrowing experience of losing his mum bearable.

Rob says, “We were so happy when mum was transferred to Ashgate. The hospital was not an appropriate place because she was not going to improve. As soon as my mum, sister Joanne, dad Maurice and I arrived at the hospice it felt so calm and peaceful.

Mum was given a room on the hospice’s Inpatient Unit with patio doors which looked out onto a veranda with lovely garden views. The first thing they did was bring a spare bed into mum’s room so dad could stay with her. For all of those months at the hospital he had slept on the floor or on a chair. Just to be able to sleep by her side meant the world.

We didn’t have to ask for anything or remind the nurses to do anything. All my mum’s needs were catered for and we knew that she wasn’t in pain because the hospice has specialists in palliative care. We felt she was comfortable. When staff came on shift they would introduce themselves and during the night they would use a tiny torch to check on mum so they wouldn’t disturb dad. Joanne and I took it in turns to stay in the overnight family suite too so we could stay close to mum. They would even bring us breakfast in the morning! It felt like a home from home. Small things made a massive difference.

I don’t know how to put into words how much the hospice helped my entire family. One of the biggest things for me was seeing the change in my dad, the weight of stress coming off his shoulders. The hospice allowed us quality time with mum.

After 5 weeks at the hospice, Carol died on 22nd May 2012 surrounded by her close family. She was 55. Earlier in the day, one of the nurses opened the patio doors and wheeled her bed outside so she could benefit from the beautiful weather.

My sister and I sat with her in the sun. Looking back, it was a really important day that I will always remember. When everything is upside down in your life, Ashgate is a place of peace and calm. I love going to the hospice, it’s an amazing place.

Since Carol’s death, the family have set up a tribute fund with the hospice in her memory which has raised nearly £13,000 through fundraising and donations from family and friends. Influenced by the experience of his mum’s illness, Rob left his office job and began a career in Occupational Therapy. He now works on the stroke unit where Carol was cared for. Maurice has become increasingly involved with volunteering at the hospice and has spent over two and a half years working Friday evenings on the Inpatient Unit’s reception. On top of this, he has recently become one of Ashgate’s Ambassadors and attends charity functions on behalf of the hospice.

Maurice adds, “On reflection, my old life ended in May 2012 and a new one began.”