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Sandra has been volunteering with us for a few months now. But the impact of doing so has been so powerful for her that she wanted to share her story of why she chose to volunteer, and why you should consider doing it too.

She told us: “My husband Brian was cared for at St Cuthbert’s Hospice last year. He had bowel cancer and underwent 24 sessions of Radiotherapy and cancer treatment. Brian needed a big operation and had a stoma fitted. He was given the all clear, which was wonderful, but then, it came back with a vengeance.”

“Macmillan Nurses were coming out to see him but couldn’t get on top of his pain. Brian had already been to the Hospice previously to help with his pain levels. In just one week as a patient at the Hospice, he was in a far better place and able to come home, so we knew how much Hospice care could help. When the cancer came back for a second time things were far more serious and after a hospital stay his pain was high again and he was admitted to the Hospice with just days to live. Brian was here for 7 weeks thanks to the wonderful care he received. He died peacefully in July 2023.”

“I couldn’t think of anywhere better for anybody to be in that situation. The place is amazing. Not just for patients, but for me and my family. The care team just go over and above. I felt like we became part of the family, and even now when I come in they ask after me so fondly. When you talk about ‘going the extra mile’ the Hospice went the extra three miles! Everyone is so caring, so dedicated. Such a special place.”

“Brian would say to me when he died he didn’t want me to sit in the house. He wanted me to get out. Go and do some volunteering. At first, I found it difficult just to go to the shops. I couldn’t remember even driving there. I would feel like I was having a panic attack as soon as I arrived and turn round and go back home. This went on for a few weeks. I remembered what Brian had said and decided to sort through his clothes to donate to the Hospice shop. I made maybe 15 trips there. I mentioned to a lovely lady, Gloria, who volunteers there that I’d like to do it too. So I met with the manager and got signed up right away.”

“I’m a good few months in now. People ask me ‘do you like it’ and I say no – ‘I love it’. It’s made me socialise again. I have people to talk to, have a cuppa with and have a laugh with. I know I’m not going to get Brian back, and he wouldn’t want me to be sat at home and sad. It’s the one thing that’s made me happy since losing Brian. It gives me an excuse to get up and put some mascara on! Plus I’m giving back to St Cuthbert’s for the time we had there. It’s given me a sense of purpose. If anybody is thinking about it, I’d say just give it a go. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do. The Hospice is the most magical place ever. And they need your support.”

Find out more about volunteering or give us a call on 0191 386 1170 or pop into one of our shops. The team would love to hear from you.

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