Patient & Family Stories

Running in her Dad’s Memory

Charlotte Ralph has raised almost £2000 for Hospice of the Valleys by running the Newport Marathon in memory of her dad. Charlotte’s father, Andrew was a keen runner himself and had been a member of the Lliswerry Runners for around seven years and took part in several half and full marathons. It wasn’t until Charlotte left university that she began joining her Dad on his runs and then joined the Lliswerry Runners herself.

Initially Charlotte would struggle to keep up, saying:

“At first I was always behind him but he would always run with me and never leave me behind,”

Through commitment and perseverance Charlotte became fitter and faster and could finally keep up with her dad:

“When I got faster he would always say that ‘I had age on my side’, unfortunately, when he got ill he had to give up running which he hated.”

Even after having to give up his own running, Andrew was so supportive of his daughter that he would be at every single race, always keen to spur her on.

This year, Charlotte took part in her first ever marathon in her dad’s memory, raising funds for the Hospice who supported him in the final stages of his illness. Taking on such a big challenge not only demonstrates the special relationship between Charlotte and her father, but shows Charlotte’s natural determination to overcoming obstacles to reach positive outcomes even in spite of devastating circumstances.

Charlotte has said that she chose the Hospice of the Valleys because of the “great support network” they provided for the family during her dad’s cancer battle. And that:

“After my father passed away they called to see how we were and were just amazing. As I had never done a marathon before I knew it would be something that I could do to raise money for them.” Charlotte also wants to say a special thanks to the Lliswerry running club who helped in her fundraising.

Harold’s Story

Pam Hopkins experienced first-hand the support that the hospice and more specifically the CARIAD service could offer. Her husband Harold was initially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in December 2014, however this later changed to Lewy Body Dementia with Parkinsonism. Originally Pam was reluctant to receive support, but she praised the patience of the nurse who persevered so that Harold and the rest of the family could access the support they needed almost two years later.

“The nurse was wonderful and would ring me every month to see how Harold was and to check on how me and my daughter Sarah were coping”.

Over time the clinical team developed a strong relationship with Pam and Sarah and made them aware of the varied support that the hospice and the CARIAD service could provide for them all.

The whole family were able to benefit from not only practical support, but the Hospice at Home service enabled Pam and Sarah to have a break for a few hours or to get a good night’s sleep. Both Harold and Sarah also benefited greatly from reflexology. The therapist was also able to provide emotional support for Pam who would look forward to her visits at home.

“The hospice’s intervention came at a critical time for us and my husband was very well looked after at the end of his life by the hospice team”.

Phil Webber

Phil was shell shocked when diagnosed with Prostate Cancer three years ago, age 44. Not knowing where else to turn, Phil self-referred to the hospice, already aware of the service as his father- in- law had received support.  “When I was diagnosed I was unsure where to turn. The hospice helped me understand my diagnosis and then explained the services they could provide to support me and my family” Shortly after Phil’s referral his specialist nurse saw he was suffering from a number of stress induced problems and suggested complementary therapy. “I was sceptical to begin with, but I could soon feel the benefits. My stress levels decreased and my sleep dramatically improved”. Phil received reflexology, massage and aromatherapy he also received these treatments when staying at Ysbyty Aneurin Bevan hospital.   The treatments improved Phil’s physical and psychological symptoms, allowing him to open up, discussing his fears and anxieties in a safe and relaxed environment. “It was my oasis in life, it was me time and I didn’t get that anywhere else. I would highly recommend having complementary therapies to anyone who is unsure. They have helped me no end and I haven’t looked back since” Phil explained.  During Phil’s journey he accessed a variety of the hospice’s services including family support, nursing and therapies. The clinical team worked together providing the support Phil needed.   Phil was discharged from the hospice as his symptoms were controlled and stable. Although Phil was anxious about discharge, he worked with the team and knows that should anything change, the hospice is only ever a phone call away.