My sister and I sadly lost our mum, Caroline, to bowel cancer in May last year. Before mum passed away she was cared for by the nurses at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice and in all the sadness and uncertainty surrounding mum’s illness, it was such a relief that she was so well looked after in her final weeks.

Before we made contact with Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice it was a very confusing time. Not long after mum’s diagnosis we were told about the support the Hospice could provide through their team of Clinical Nurse Specialists. These are nurses that work in the community, visiting patients and providing palliative care in the comfort of their own homes. My sister and I desperately wanted to help care for mum at home. We both had full time jobs and when Rose, our nurse, came to care for mum once a week it was such a great help.

Rose was so caring and when mum’s condition worsened she brought us to the Hospice to show us round and see if mum would like to spend some respite time at the facility. I remember she thought all the people there were so friendly. It was so important for us that mum would not be admitted to hospital if at all possible, so when she was taken into the Hospice, my sister and I had the peace of mind that mum was receiving wonderful care and attention.

“It was a big relief when I spoke to the Hospice and they arranged for her to have a bed in their in-patient unit.”

It was bank holiday weekend in April last year when things took a sudden turn for the worse. I had to call an ambulance for mum but was worried that if she was admitted to hospital that she may end up spending her final days there. It was a big relief when I spoke to the Hospice and they arranged for her to have a bed in their in-patient unit. I really was taken aback by the level of care mum received. The nurses were so lovely and mum had a great relationship with them all. My sister and I stayed at mum’s bedside until she sadly passed away on the 25th May.

Up until just recently I would visit the Hospice to see a bereavement counsellor, who has been hugely helpful to me. I didn’t take up the option at first but it has certainly helped me to deal with things and I had my last session a few weeks ago.

My sister and I like to help the Hospice as much as we can. We’re both regular givers, making monthly donations to the Hospice so that other families can receive the same level of care and attention as we did. Not only that, but come October I’ll be taking on my first ever half marathon and will be raising funds to support the Hospice! I’ll be sure to provide updates so you can see how I’m getting on with my preparation but in the meantime, if you’d like to visit my Just Giving page please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Ellie-Rance-half-marathon-challenge.

We'd like to say a big thank you to Ellie for sharing her story and helping us to share what we do here at Birmingham St Mary's Hospice. If you've been inspired by Ellie and would like to share your story, please email our Digital Officer Rich at [email protected], or if you'd like to fundraise to support local families living with terminal illness, visit our fundraising section!