‘The Rowans Hospice provides care that helps the family as well as the patient’

Rowans Marketing Manager Verity James reveals how she was inspired to work there after her mother was cared for at the hospice.

Clockwise from top left: Verity and husband Matt, Verity abseiling down the Spinnaker Tower, Verity and Matt with their children and Verity's mum Alison
Clockwise from top left: Verity and husband Matt, Verity abseiling down the Spinnaker Tower, Verity and Matt with their children and Verity's mum Alison

In 2012 our happy family life was shattered with the news that my mum, Alison, had an aggressive brain tumour.

She underwent treatment including surgery and radiotherapy, but was too poorly to continue on to have chemotherapy.

She battled on bravely but in July 2013 she had deteriorated even further and was admitted to hospital. Here we were told that she would only have weeks to live.

We were faced with the decision of what to do next - try and take her home to receive end of life care, or look for a hospice place. We were fortunate enough to be offered a bed at Rowans Hospice and gratefully accepted this.

As soon as we walked through the door, I knew we had made the right decision. Matt and I had been planning our wedding for the end of August but, on the advice of the doctors, had arranged for the service to take place on the Monday following receiving the devastating news. This was also the day that mum was due to be admitted to the Rowans.

Athough mum was too ill to attend, the family and our wonderful minister Anna met at the hospice for a blessing service after - allowing mum to be part of our special day. The staff had decorated the room with flowers and provided drinks for a toast.

Mum stayed in the hospice for nearly seven weeks and received outstanding care during this time - as did the rest of us. We were a broken, devastated group of individuals when we arrived on that first day. The Rowans staff and volunteers provided a place for us to spend the last few precious weeks of mum’s life together, to be a family rather than her carers, and to start to deal with the immense grief of losing such a central part of our lives.

During the many hours that I spent with mum at the Rowans, I was convinced that this was an organisation that I wanted to be a part of. One day I stumbled upon a job opportunity there  - a role within the communications team – and I knew that I had to apply and be part of this wonderful place.

I was successful at interview and began working for the Rowans in July 2015. Since then, I have volunteered at lots of events, raised over £1,000 by walking, running, cycling and abseiling and more recently have been promoted to the position of Marketing Manager.

It is now nearly six years since my mum died and sometimes it feels like just yesterday. There have been so many times when I wished I could just ask her advice, talk something through with her, or just give me a hug. My children never got to meet their grandma Alison, but we still talk about her all of the time so that they know how much she would have loved them.

I am so grateful to the Rowans for giving us those last few weeks to spend as mother and daughter. Even though mum was much too poorly to really have a conversation, she was still able to hold my hand and say a few words. She told me that she was happy with everything that she achieved and felt that her life was complete – the Rowans gave her a place to complete that wonderful life in a calm and tranquil setting, free from pain and holding my dad’s hand.

I am so grateful to the Rowans, for giving us those last few weeks to spend as mother and daughter. I am telling you my story to show the impact that the care provided at the Rowans can have on the family as well as the patient

My hope is that, through my work and fundraising, I can make sure that the Rowans is there to support families, like mine, in one of the most difficult times of their lives so that, when they look back on it in years to come, they know that their loved one received the best care possible and that they were able to be a family again, even if just for a short period of time.


You can help to make sure that Rowans Hospice will be there to support families, like Verity’s, in our community from the moment a member of their family is diagnosed with a terminal illnesses, by donating or pledging to do one thing for Silver Jubilee Appeal.