Toni was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer at 43 years old.
During her oncology consultation she was referred to St Elizabeth Hospice, for pain management and palliative care.
Toni came to have a look around as part of an outpatient appointment. She needed direction and guidance even though she knew there was no ‘right’ way. After that initial visit Toni came to the hospice regularly as she saw it as a safe place where her questions were answered. She was allowed to question everything and was given answers which provided reassurance.
As a former nurse used to caring for others, the role of patient was difficult for Toni however when the need came for her to come to the hospice from hospital, once she needed to be an inpatient, it made her finally feel safe.
For Toni, having continuity was important – the consultant she saw at the hospital was the same one who looked after her in the inpatient unit at the hospice. She recalled: “I was told that there was a bed for me on a Thursday and the very next day I was comfortably tucked in, with my cat who was allowed to visit. It is as if we were at home.”
Toni soon discovered the impeccably-kept hospice garden. She loved it there, calling it “unbelievable.” There are plenty of fish in the pond; raised flower beds for patients to access and the summerhouse, hidden in the corner for patients, family and friends to inhabit.
Since experiencing the care Toni and her family decided that they wanted to raise money to support the hospice; as thanks for the support they received. They wanted to ensure that others may benefit as Toni did.