The support given by a team from Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House, in the difficult last few weeks of life for a Lynn woman, was like “a giant, big hug”, according to her mother.
Rachel Walker, of Silver Hill, Springwood, said their patience, care and understanding was invaluable to her daughter, Aimee, who was suffering from an incurable brain tumour, and her family.
Now as the hospice is due to move to its new premises at Hillington and a £25,000 appeal has been launched by the Lynn News to equip one of the in-patient rooms, Rachel has come forward to talk about the hospice’s important role.
Aimee, mum of Jack, now eight, and who used to work for the National Construction College at Bircham Newton, was diagnosed with the aggressive form of brain cancer in March 2012 and, despite an operation, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, died in October last year.
The Hospice at Home team came to visit the family after Aimee needed to spend a week in hospital. There were five in the team, and each time two of them would visit.
“Aimee was very apprehensive about people coming into our home, but the team, first of all came to introduce themselves, which helped enormously. They made such a difference to us,” said Rachel, who stopped working to care for Aimee full time.
“Every day they came – sometimes twice if we wanted them to. It helped greatly that there was a consistency by having the same people visit. They gave Aimee the time she needed and were prepared to wait if she wasn’t ready. They were very patient, and if she didn’t want to see them because she didn’t feel up to it, then that was fine.
“The hospice team made such a difference to her and she looked forward to their visits. She bonded with them and was able to have a laugh.
“Their visits cheered her up and you could tell the difference in her afterwards. They not only supported Aimee, but were there for me as well. It was like having a giant, big hug around both of us to make sure we were OK.”
Rachel said the team gave practical support with washing and dressing Aimee, as well as providing moral support and advice on all kinds of things, such as making a will.
“They were able to put us in touch with the right people and also helped Aimee with writing letters, It’s all the things like that which can be very hard.
“By coincidence they were there at the time when Aimee died. They were such a great help to us and knew exactly what to do. From the beginning right through to the present day, the hospice has been there for us.”
Rachel now goes to the hospice at Snettisham for bereavement counselling and therapy treatments. She is also grateful for the fact that the hospice has provided her with transport to enable her to do so.
The family has teamed up with the Red Wellies charity, which funds brain tumour research, and which Aimee supported.
A family disco taking place at West Lynn Community Centre on March 22, is already a sell out.
Aimee’s sister, Emilie, has written to numerous businesses and has received an overwhelming response for raffle prizes.