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The Moment She Got To St John's It Was Incredible

James and Kirsty were childhood sweethearts. Just before her 35th birthday, she was given the devastating news that she had ovarian cancer. After months of chemotherapy, she developed meningitis and had a bleed on the brain, which dramatically changed everything. Her time in hospital was extremely trying for her and the whole family. Thankfully, she was sent to Sue Ryder where she was able to spend the last precious weeks of her life surrounded with friends and family. She started to feel in control of her treatment and her husband could stay with her all the time, so he felt like her husband again instead of her carer.

Kirsty had two weeks being treated like the star she was at St John’s. Below James has given us an account of Kirsty’s time at the hospice:

“The moment she got to St John’s it was incredible she just started to relax straight away.

“We knew we had made the right decision straight away, the nurse was open and frank with me and said that she didn’t have long to live but it was the right information at the right time.

“First week we had loads of visitors and all the staff were amazing, nothing was a problem. From the 2nd night I stayed every night, helping to change her and I got to know all the staff.

“At first she was a bit disorientated but she soon started to pick up, her memory still wasn’t great but she was much better. She used to sing along to old songs. On one occasion, she was watching Willy Wonka and she happily started singing along. Things like Mama Mia, all the old classics she’d be singing along.

“All the nurses were in disbelief. They were told of her medical records and couldn’t believe that it was her singing along, as they had been told that she was brain dead. Clinically dead a few days before and then singing out loud - amazing. I put that down to the care she received really, and the pain management. It was unreal, it was a massive relief to get her here. It gave us time for me to be a husband and for us to be a family again.

“I felt so much more in control when she was at St John’s Hospice, the nurses would involve me in little things like they would say ‘if you feel she needs more pain relief let us know’, It was such a good feeling that I was involved with her care to that level. I would remain in the room while she was being treated and help the nurses.

“The nurses were amazing and there is such a great homely environment, if they thought they were being loud they would say sorry James but I thought to myself ‘why not be loud and laugh, it makes the place’. They work hard and have a tough job.

“It was great that we were able to decorate Kirsty’s room, I brought her cards, bedding, soft toys, photos in a digital picture frame – the nurses would be there with her looking at pictures at 4am.  It was comforting for her and everyone around her.

“I was able to bring all her clothes in so she could choose what she wanted to wear. Suitcases of clothes, just for the fact that if she wanted to wear something it was there, they are her clothes why shouldn’t she have them with her.”

Kirsty died on 23rd of March 2014 at 17:15 surrounded by friends and family peacefully with her husband by her side.  

Since Kirsty has passed away James and her friends and family have been fundraising for St John’s to help give something back and say thank you to the team there.

“Of course I’d prefer her to be here, but it’s about being productive over something so horrible and hopefully by doing this we can help another family.

“It meant so much to me getting her here, if we can help another family get their loved one out of hospital and get them here we’ve achieved something.”