Elaine, a current patient on St Catherine’s Hospice ward

Elaine, Adrian, Jasmine and Guy

Elaine Goddard, 51, from Horsham is terminally ill and currently staying at St Catherine’s Hospice. Worried that she won’t be able to enjoy Christmas with her family, St Catherine’s helped her celebrate Christmas early. Here, Elaine shares her story.

“St Catherine’s helped me decorate my room with a Christmas tree, twinkling lights, and hanging decorations. They’re very amenable and the nursing staff loved the idea of bringing Christmas forward as much as I did. We brought in food and the nurses took pictures with my family and sung along to Christmas music.

My brain tumours mean I can sometimes be forgetful so when my daughter arrived with the presents there was one sack for her but two sacks and two stockings for my son! I’d forgotten what I’d bought him so he got more gifts than I’d thought – he definitely did well!

At the moment my health is rapidly going downhill. My illness has affected my vision, speech and hearing but I still want to fully take part in things and St Catherine’s is helping me do that. I’ve always loved celebrating and it’s brilliant I can continue to celebrate at the hospice. It means a lot that I can make things as lovely as possible for everybody.

St Catherine’s is like a family and the staff and volunteers are more than 100% dedicated. They’ve got to know my family and they make me feel safe and relaxed. That’s a massive thing as it can be scary when you’re ill. Being at the hospice has taken away my fear because I know I’ll be looked after and the team will make me as pain free as possible. It’s helped my family cope better too.

It was a big shock finding out I’d got cancer as I’d never even been ill before and it meant all my plans for the future were gone but now I’ve come to terms with it, I’m adjusting my life to try and fit in as many memories as I can. St Catherine’s helps me look at things in a very positive way and I’ve got an advantage compared to people who are literally just run over because I’ve got chance to say goodbye to my family.

I always thought a hospice would be miserable and depressing but it’s not at all, it’s lovely. It’s been a complete eye-opener learning what a hospice actually is and it’s one of the most worthwhile charities you can support.

Helping me make the end of my life enjoyable has been one of the greatest gifts St Catherine’s could give me and my family.”

It’s the little things that make a big difference. Donate today and help St Catherine’s be there to give more people chance to say a proper goodbye to their family and loved ones this Christmas. Visit: www.stch.org.uk/elaine – Thank you.

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