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Dennis’ Story

Until he was diagnosed with cancer last year, Dennis thought about little else other than running his successful business. Now, as he faces stage four prostate metastatic terminal cancer, he’s developed unbreakable ties with three things – his two four-legged friends and Thames Hospice.

Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

Dennis, who spent the last decade or so working flat-out, running his own cleaning business, Dust and Buff, is looking to the generosity of the general public to get onboard with his fundraising efforts as he teams up with his friends and canine companions to support the organisation that’s providing him with invaluable support.

After several courses of chemotherapy at St Luke’s Cancer Centre at the Royal Surrey Hospital, their Oncology Team referred Dennis to Thames Hospice.

Like many entrepreneurs, Dennis, 61, is used to fending for himself. He was delighted though, that when he realised that he really did need help, there were people he could call on.

He adds: “I have amazing friends. They’ve been my rock and Thames Hospice of course. My friends were my rock when I first found out about my cancer diagnosis, they all came rushing around and asking if I was okay, if I needed anything. I am very, very independent and I said ‘no, no, I’m fine’, and of course in the end I wasn’t.”

After Dennis was referred to Thames Hospice he met with colleagues from the charity’s Hospice at Home Team, who talked Dennis through all the services available to him and helped with adaptations to his home. He’s registered for Hospice Day Services and knows that, when the need arises, he can also access Inpatient Services, Physiotherapy and much more. He’s also overcome his initial hospice hesitancy and fallen in love with its surroundings.

“I was scared to start with,” admits Dennis. “I will be honest, I thought, ‘what am I going into?’. Once you get here it’s like a big family, everybody at Thames Hospice is so friendly and welcoming.

“I loved the Hospice when I first came here. My friend said it backed onto Bray Lake, but I didn’t think it would be so close. I walked in and said ‘WOW!’, what a lovely building to be in and what a lovely building to pass away in. What a wow factor looking over on the lake when you can’t do anything else.”

It’s hard now for Dennis to imagine how he’d cope without the care and support he knows he can rely on.

“Life without Thames Hospice would be horrible, because this is a safe haven, I know I can come here anytime and I can just call and speak to somebody.”

So impressed has Dennis been with the way he’s been treated and range of services at his disposal, he’s now planning on volunteering for the Hospice as well as fundraising. And it’s Bray Lake that has inspired his fundraising plans.

Accompanied by his beloved rescue dogs Frankie and Lennie, as well as 18 friends, including former Only Fools and Horses actress Sue Holderness, Dennis will walk 5km – that’s twice around the lake.

“I want to fundraise because everybody has made me feel so welcome at Thames Hospice and made me part of the family and that’s the reason I want to do my walk,” says Dennis.

“I have done a lap round Bray Lake and that really finished me off, but I WILL do two laps even if it kills me! I want to raise £1,000 but I would love to go over, the more the better.”

Pooches, as Dennis calls them, Frankie and Lennie, mean so much to Dennis that he worries more about them than his own death.

“No I’m not scared of dying. The only thing I’m scared of is going before Frankie and Lennie (his dogs) because I’ve only just got them, and they are rescues and I cry about that a lot at night. I cry to them and say, ‘I’m so sorry for what I’ve got’.”

By sharing his story and putting his ailing body to the test, Dennis hopes he’ll raise awareness and much needed funds as well as bust some of the myths surrounding hospice care.

“Don’t be frightened. I was, but there is nothing to be scared of. Everyone is lovely at Thames Hospice; they are all here to help you and nobody is going to reject you.

“I think as many people should support Thames Hospice as possible, there is so much cancer out there at the moment, the Hospice needs your support badly, I am going to do as much as I can to support Thames Hospice and I am living with the disease. Come on guys, come and support us.”

If you’d like to support Dennis, go to his JustGiving page Dennis’ 5k dog walk around Bray Lake.

Make a difference

Our services are free of charge to all those in our community who need vital hospice care but this is only made possible through the charitable support and generosity of our amazing community. We need to raise £38,363 each day to fund our services 365 days a year to the people who need us most.

We’ve never needed you, our wonderful supporters, more than we need you today. Please donate what you can to help keep hospice care available for those in desperate need.

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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