John and Linda Hunt's Hospice Story

“The St Elizabeth Hospice staff made a difficult situation a little bit better. From the cleaners and receptionists through to the volunteers and the nurses, they all have a special way about them which brings comfort and reassurance,” explained Linda Hunt, whose husband John received support from St Elizabeth Hospice until his death, aged 73-years-old, on Christmas Day 2022.

Every year St Elizabeth Hospice delivers free care to over 3,000 patients and their families throughout East Suffolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney.

Centered on an individual’s needs, the hospice provides specialist support, whenever and wherever it is needed, whether at home, in the community or at the hospice.

“John was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus in June 2022 and underwent chemotherapy treatment at the oncology unit in Ipswich Hospital,” said Linda.

“It really wiped him off his feet, the poor man, and when he was told his cancer was incurable, John decided he no longer wanted to receive chemotherapy.

“He always said he wanted to be under care of St Elizabeth Hospice when his time came and our family has been hospice supporters for many years, as they gave such brilliant care to my sister and to a number of our friends.

“We have fundraised for the charity through annual family parties, dance parties and for one of John’s birthdays he requested that instead of presents, that he wanted all his family and friends to make donations to the hospice. It is such a fantastic local service, which makes a great impact on the lives of so many people.”

A familiar face, in the Ipswich area, John lived in Kesgrave with Linda and had been a builder ever since he left school, building every house the couple lived in.

The couple grew up in Wickham Market and Woodbridge and had two sons, one daughter as well as seven grandchildren, ranging in age from nine months to 24-years-old.

John came under the care of St Elizabeth Hospice inpatient unit team on 13th December 2022, after he had previously received support at his home from the hospice’s community team nurses.

Linda added: “The community hospice nurses gave brilliant support to John, making him comfortable.

“John was my soulmate and, as he became more poorly, we wanted to make his last wish come true and the nurses made this possible within a few days, with John moving on to the hospice’s inpatient unit. It wasn’t home but it was the best thing for John.

“St Elizabeth Hospice’s care is not just for the patient but for the whole family and I can never thank all the hospice staff for what they did for my husband, myself and my family.

“They made it possible for us to be together as a family during the lead up to the Christmas period, which was so vital, especially as Christmas is a time for people to come together with loved ones.

“I stayed over at the hospice every night so I could be with John and all our family were able to regularly visit. It was our choice to be there over Christmas and we do not regret it, as John was comfortable. The atmosphere was lovely and the staff put lots of decorations up, so the feeling of Christmas was still very much there.

“Unfortunately, on Christmas Eve, John become more poorly but the staff were like family members to us and were so kind. When John died on Christmas Day, there was no rushing and the nurses let us spend as much time with John as we needed.”

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