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Maria's Story

When doctors at Harefield Hospital referred Maria to Thames Hospice, her breathing was so bad she didn’t think she’d make it to mark a significant event. Six weeks later, with the help of the Multi-Disciplinary Team at the Hospice, Maria is feeling better than she had imagined was even possible.

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

A hospice might not be many couple’s first choice of venue to celebrate their wedding anniversary. But Maria and John Walsh were delighted to enjoy the day they didn’t think she would make.

Living with Cystic Fibrosis, Maria, who’s originally from Liverpool, has had to endure many health interventions, including a heart and lung transplant 31 years ago.

Then, just six weeks ago, she reached a crisis point from which she really didn’t think she could bounce back.

Maria said: “My breathing was so bad I couldn’t talk. Harefield Hospital offered to take me to Thames Hospice which was so apt and important at that moment as I literally thought I was dying.”

Doctors at Harefield Hospital made the referral in the hope that the Hospice could get on top of Maria’s symptoms.

She was amazed by the speed of transformation: “Within a very short time the whole team here had managed to get my breathing back to a more acceptable level. I was so ill, and I didn’t think I had much time left.”

As well as the expert medical attention she’s received, Maria has been impressed by the all-round way in which staff have cared for her.

“I just can’t explain how wonderful everyone has been,” says Maria. “I think the most important bit is people have time for you, and that includes the volunteers, the nurses, the cleaners and every single person who has listened to every aspect of my illness – not just my lungs.”

It’s been by focusing on the tiny details that Maria believes the Hospice team has helped her feel so much better.

Maria says: “I am a great believer in looking after the one per cents and that’s what you do here. All those one per cents add up and before you know it you’re feeling better than you thought you could feel.”

Both Maria and John have benefited from some of the complementary therapies on offer too, with John enjoying neck and shoulder massages.

A further example of the holistic approach Maria has experienced is the support she’s received from Catherine Beer, one of our Pastoral Care Workers: “She has been wonderful because I really felt when I first came in like I was in a waiting room, and it was all about what’s going to happen next and when am I going to decline – and we talked about being in the living room. That’s my biggest experience of being here – it’s about living with your illness not dying.”

In the time she’s spent as an inpatient here, Maria says she’s found peace, especially in the grounds, and was delighted to be able to host a gathering of her friends – as well as mark that significant event.

“We’ve been together for 34 years and we actually celebrated our anniversary here. It was an anniversary we didn’t think we’d make. But we did and so we enjoyed it.”

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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