A mum-of-three who has gone from being able-bodied to paralysed from the chest down in three months helped mark the first birthday of the first ever Hospice services in Great Yarmouth.
Amanda Hadjkura, 39, started attending St Elizabeth Hospice’s Day Care service in Gorleston after she was diagnosed with the rare auto-immune disorder Devic’s Disease.
She said she could not get through the week without the medical care and support of St Elizabeth Hospice and will help mark the day service’s first birthday on Monday, November 18.
Patients were invited to cut the birthday cake at the day care session in Headway House, Trafalgar Road East.
Local health professionals also dropped in to see how people from Great Yarmouth and Waveney are benefiting from the Hospice’s specialist care and support.
Mrs Hadjkura, of Kessingland, is now confined to a wheelchair and had not left her lounge for five months until she started being transported to St Elizabeth Hospice’s day care. She lives with her husband and three teenaged children and her mum and 22-year-old sister are her full-time carers.
She said: “I was able-bodied until January this year, then within three months my condition left me paralysed from the chest down. It is incurable and I was told St Elizabeth Hospice could help support me.
“I was worried about going at first as I am the youngest patient there. But now I could not get through the week without the specialist care and counselling they give me and the support I get from the other patients.
“I have to take 287 tablets for pain relief and other symptoms each week and the Hospice nurses review my medication and make sure I am OK. I see the Hospice counsellor and am able to talk to him about things I would not want to put my family through. I have bad days and the Hospice helps get me through. I don’t know what I would have done without them.”
St Elizabeth Hospice’s Chief Executive Jane Petit said: “I hope that Amanda’s story means that more local people realise we are here for them.
“So far more than 100 patients in Waveney and Great Yarmouth have benefited from St Elizabeth Hospice services and have found they have made all the difference to their lives.
“People in Great Yarmouth and Waveney do not need to wait for Hospice services they are here now.
“Please speak to your GP, hospital doctor of district nurse or call us directly on 0800 56 70 111 to find out how we can help you and those who care for you.”
St Elizabeth Hospice offers a range of closer to home services free of charge to improve life for patients living with any progressive illness, including heart failure, kidney failure, neurological conditions, respiratory failure and cancer.
Services are tailored to an individual’s needs and include day care, inpatient hospice beds and home visits.
Day care services at Gorleston include nursing care, medical review, psychosocial support, rehabilitation, complementary therapy, art therapy, family support and counselling.
St Elizabeth Hospice is an independent local charity investing £2.2 million over three years in services in Waveney and Great Yarmouth. It runs specialist palliative day care services in Ditchingham, Beccles, East Suffolk and Gorleston and provides inpatient hospice beds at All Hallows’ Hospital, Ditchingham, and in Ipswich. It also provides services at the Louise Hamilton Centre in Gorleston.