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Ryan's story

It’s almost impossible to imagine the impact of a terminal diagnosis on a 35-year-old father of two young children. But that’s exactly what Ryan D’Souza had to face up to after suffering a stroke caused by an inoperable brain tumour.

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

Eighteen months on, and Ryan, with the support of his wife, Sera Correia, and many of the services at Thames Hospice, has found a new lease of life, making giant strides both literally and metaphorically, making friends and acquiring new hobbies.

“Without Thames Hospice I think I would have died. It feels like God sent me here. It is the most important part of my life and I will never forget the Hospice.” says Ryan, who was until his stroke, working for DHL based in Colnbrook.

When he was referred to the Hospice in August 2022, following gruelling courses of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, Ryan was unable to walk and was struggling to speak.

“At first, I was bed-ridden, and my right side was fully paralysed. I couldn’t talk either.”

Several physio and complementary therapy sessions later, on Ryan’s regular visits to attend the Paul Bevan Wellbeing Centre, have helped transform his mobility and enabled him to perform a task close to every parent’s heart, putting a smile not just on his face, but that of all the family members.

“My wife is so happy I am coming to the Hospice as she can see the improvement with my mobility. Slowly I started standing, then I would do more exercises. Now I can walk the 200 metres with my daughter Chloe to drop her off at school.”

Having only moved to the UK from India in 2017, Ryan and his family, who live in Langley, have no relatives and few friends here, so the social interaction at the Hospice has been important too, especially now he has regained the power of speech.

 “I have made friends at the Hospice. I can share my experience with them and they can share theirs with me.”

David, one of the nurses who has looked after Ryan, says there’s no doubting the huge transformation in his physical and mental wellbeing, but says it didn’t happen overnight.

“It was a real slow burn with Ryan. The first time he came to the Hospice he didn’t join in or speak to anyone. We didn’t think he’d come back, but he did. Slowly but surely, people started talking to him and he started communicating with them.

“He’s a different person now, we just didn’t notice it immediately, like when your children grow. One of the nurses from his oncology team phoned me and said she couldn’t believe the difference. Everyone has a soft spot for Ryan. Other patients have a laugh and a joke with him and he has slowly come out of himself. As with everyone we care for, we recognise him as a person and don’t define him by his condition.”

While Ryan has managed to give up his wheelchair, his reduced mobility has meant an end to his football playing days and refereeing, which he performed to FIFA standards back in India, is now a thing of the past too.

Resourceful man that he is, Ryan has made the very most of his circumstances and, with the support of Thames Hospice’s Outpatient Services Team, developed new hobbies.

“I loved playing football, but now it is crafting and gardening.  I spend a lot of time in the garden and I have grown lots of different tomatoes and chillis this year.”

He’s not completely given up on football though and loves cheering on his favourite team with little Chloe.

“I love Manchester United and my daughter is very interested too. When they score, I shout, ‘GOAL!’ and she shouts it too.”

Chloe’s taken a special interest in one of her father’s new hobbies too.

Ryan adds: “I like the crafts and make all kinds of different things at the Hospice. When I get home she asks me what I have brought her from crafts.”

Prior to being referred to Thames Hospice, Ryan was totally unfamiliar with the hospice concept and was rather frightened. But, just over a year later and having benefited from the compassionate care and support at Thames Hospice, he now feels very differently.

“I am so grateful to the dedicated and amazing individuals who care for and support me. From the wonderful Nursing Team – Annie, David, Sharon and Tina, Physiotherapist Suki, Complementary Therapist Celia, to the lovely Volunteers - Bea, Gina Graham and Simon.

“They have all helped me to get my physical strength back to be able to walk properly, as well as providing vital emotional support. I always look forward to attending. It helps take my mind off my tumour. The care here is just absolutely fantastic, as are the endless supply of tea, coffee, delicious cakes and lunch from the café!”

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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