Terry and David Walmsley watched as Rowans Hospice was being built more than 25 years ago - and now it’s their lifeline. Here Terry explains why.
David and I watched the hospice being built and even watched the Rowans Living Well Centre being built.
Now the place has become a total lifeline to us. Over the past year, David has been a bit of a conundrum to the medical profession, but he now has multiple diagnoses.
As well as a heart problem, in November 2018 he was diagnosed with bowel cancer, then leukaemia in January 2019.
He is now in a palliative care situation. This news was a shock to both of us.
It was whilst David was in hospital last summer that I decided to stop in at the Living Well Centre on my way home. As soon as I walked through the door, I was made to feel welcome.
I can’t remember which nurse it was who came over to me and asked if I wanted a chat, but that was exactly what I needed! Immediately I was able to tell her I wasn’t in a really good place.
I was put at ease straight away, plus given information to take away and think about. It was information about courses and support available to both me and David.
From this first visit I felt cushioned, cossetted and warm. I knew that there was somebody there.
I recognised how invaluable this place would be. Having had cancer I understood the importance of talking to people who are in similar situation as you.
David isn’t really one for joining in things outside immediate friends and family, so now I just had to get him through the door!
To my surprise he didn’t take too much convincing as, driving past the sign for the Rowans one day, David said: ‘I suppose we could go in for a coffee’. We’ve never looked back!
We were both made to feel truly welcome. Whilst I chatted to the nurses, David read through the leaflets and suddenly said: ‘Well actually, I have seen one here that we could go to, Terry.’ Well I nearly fell off the chair!
David then said: ‘Let’s face it, my appetite is naff isn’t it and you are trying your best and I am trying my best, so the Eating Well, Living Well course can only help!’
We adored the course, even as regular cooks it was a real eye-opener for us. It helped us look at food in a completely different way.
Since then I have taken part in the Jewellery and a Creative Writing courses. We also take part in the Patient and Carers Users and Support Groups, where we give feedback and make suggestions about the service.
I also met with Mohammed from the Citizens’ Advice Bureau at the Living Well Centre and have been advised on things to consider, such as attendance allowance and a disabled parking badge. So now every time we use our badge, we pop £1 in our Silver Jubilee Appeal coin box.
This is an easy way to fundraise - each box has roughly held £25 and we are on our third box!
Rowans has given us so much. Even when we are not participating in a group we will pop into the cafe because it’s such a positive, caring atmosphere.
It makes us feel so sad when we learn about people in our community who could really benefit from the support available but don’t access it.
Especially because they think that the Hospice is a place about death and dying. This perception is wrong. Rowans is here for people who want to live with a life-limiting illness.
When David and I watched the Hospice and the Living Well Centre being built, we never imagined it would be our lifeline.
For many people in our community today reading and looking at photos of the Silver Jubilee renovation, this may be the same situation for them in 25 years.
Rowans will see you through a horrific time. It will hold your hand and hug you, so please do your little bit to donate to the Rowans Silver Jubilee Appeal.