When Andrea’s partner Steve received a terminal diagnosis, both Andrea and Steve received counselling from the St Gemma’s team. Steve was then cared for on the Hospice’s In-Patient Unit and Andrea received bereavement support for a year after Steve’s death. Twelve years on, Andrea shares her story and the impact St Gemma’s had:
“It was Christmas 2008 when my partner Steve couldn’t seem to get rid of flu-like symptoms. Our son was 2 at the time and we were enjoying our first Christmas in our new home.
“After 3 months of tests we were told Steve had secondary cancer which had spread to his lymph nodes and liver; the cancer was terminal and he was given chemo in an attempt to prolong his life.
“That’s when St Gemma’s became involved, initially to provide counselling for both of us.
“After Steve had chemo, which unfortunately didn’t have an effect and he was becoming unable to manage the pain, he was transferred to St Gemma’s. We didn’t realise he would not ever return home.
“St Gemma’s care then took on Steve’s final journey, firstly getting his pain under control quickly and providing counselling for both Steve and myself.
“We married in St Gemma’s on the 13th July 2009 which was just wonderful, the staff made our wedding stress free and a joy with our family all in attendance.
“I spent 10 days staying with Steve in a room overlooking the beautiful gardens of St Gemma’s with staff caring for him and making sure he was comfortable until he peacefully died on 23rd July 2009 with his family around him.
“I had nearly a year’s counselling from St Gemma’s after his death, coming to terms with the thunderbolt of a cancer diagnosis and support in accepting and learning to learn to live a new life without Steve.
“St Gemma’s is a truly remarkable and wonderful place which will forever be in my heart. It was a haven of tranquillity for Steve, myself and his family throughout his final days of life. I am forever in St Gemma’s debt.”
To share your experience of St Gemma’s care, please visit www.st-gemma.co.uk/hospicestories/create