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Daughter shares her family's experience of hospice care

We'd like to share the story of Julie Buckley, whose mum Monica Donegan was cared for by our Clinical Nurse Specialist Katy Chelchowska. 
Julie with her mum (cropped)
Monica benefited from a range of specialist end of life care services and we were also there to support her family. 

On Sunday 28th April, Julie ran the London Marathon in memory of her mum and to raise money for the Hospice. 

And it was an emotional experience for Julie as it coincided with the second anniversary of her mum's death.

"What an amazing experience I've had running the London Marathon for Saint Francis Hospice - the support they have shown their team has been absolutely wonderful."Julie Buckley and Katy Chelchowska 2

On the day, they were there just when I needed them at mile 23," said Julie.

"My Mum would be so proud of my achievements and I am equally proud to have raised so much money for a wonderful cause."

Care and Compassion

Monica was supported by the Specialist Crisis and Community Support team and Julie clearly recalls Katy visiting her mum. 

"Katy visited my mum at home and at the Hospice, and she used to follow up with her on the phone to make sure she was ok," said Julie. 

"She sorted out her medication and gave her the confidence to be able to manage it herself.

"She was brilliant; she gave my mum a lot of comfort and I know my mum really appreciated her.

"Monica also loved attending creative therapy sessions in Pemberton Place, our day services unit, and was collected from her home every week by one of our volunteer drivers.

While Julie has known people who have been cared for by the Hospice over the years, it wasn't until her mum needed its services that she truly understood the difference it can make at such a difficult time. Julie Buckley and Katy Chelchowska 2

"This was our first experience of hospice care and I cannot recommend it highly enough," said Julie. 

"We would have been lost without it.

"Following her mum's death, Julie and her children received bereavement counselling to help them to cope with their grief and her daughter continues to receive support from the Family Support Services team. 

Marathon evening 

Katy had the pleasure of meeting up with Julie again at the pre-marathon "carbs" evening at the Hospice two days before the iconic race.

"It was such a privilege to have been part of the team at the Hospice who supported Monica and her family two years ago," said Katy.

"I remember Monica very well and recall how stoical she was and how she wanted to spare her daughters from their worrying about her and having to care for her.Julie Buckley and Katy Chelchowska 2

"In all of my 10 years at the Hospice I have continued to be overwhelmed by how courageous and inspirational our patients and their families are in dealing with their illnesses."

Bereavement 

Katy went on to say: "I have recently experienced the grief of several bereaved families of patients whom I have known for 4-5 years. 

"As a health professional, my role after a person has died is, first and foremost, to send our condolences to the bereaved family and offer individualised support immediately or at any time in the future. 

"We have a very responsive bereavement counselling service and, if necessary, we may get calls from bereaved relatives to our 24-hour advice line."
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