The 12 month long project, which starts on Monday 6 October, coincides with the launch of a new website for the charity and the start of Hospice Care Week. 

The first person to share their story is Diane from Illogan near Redruth whose husband was cared for on a number of occasions at St Julia’s Hospice in Hayle, one of the two hospices run by the charity. Sadly John died earlier this year but Diane says the care given to her and her family at St Julia’s made the trauma easier to bear;

“The whole team at St Julia’s were compassionate, caring and supportive to the extent that we have happy memories as well as sad ones, of our visits to the hospice. It was our sanctuary and when we were there we were able to hand John’s care to the nursing staff so I could just be his wife and our children, Matt and Becca, could just be his children and enjoy the precious time we had together.

“I want people to know how special Cornwall Hospice Care is as a truly Cornish charity and how much the teams at the two hospices do to help all those affected by life limiting illnesses. By telling my story I hope to inspire people to give financial support and to answer some of the questions of those who may have need of a hospice in the future.”

Others who have already started to share their stories include the Boscastle Buoys, a singing group from North Cornwall who support Cornwall Hospice Care after one of their number was cared for at Mount Edgcumbe Hospice - Mum and Daughter Pat and Nicola from Perranporth who were cared for when Pat’s husband and Nicola’s father died at St Julia’s (Pat is a volunteer in a Cornwall Hospice Care shop and Nicola is volunteer fundraiser) and George from Truro who has been living with cancer with support from the team at Mount Edgcumbe for seven years.  The charity’s nursing staff are also joining the story telling project with their personal insights into providing the care for patients and their families and friends.

Each story teller is being encouraged to make a short film about their experiences and to put their story in to writing - click here to read Diane's story. Her video is available to view below.

Dr Debbie Stevens, Cornwall Hospice Care Medical Director, says the personal stories are a powerful way of helping people to understand what Cornwall Hospice Care is all about;

“I’m obviously very proud of what we do but people’s first hand experiences of our care mean far more than anything I can say. Our story tellers are also able to dispel myths about hospices, for instance George has been visiting us for seven years so these are not necessarily places where you go to die.  Diane’s story shows that the care extends to the wider families of our patients who are just as important to us and the Boscastle Buoys prove you can turn sadness in to fundraising success.”

“It costs £8.4 million to run our charity each year and with only a tiny grant from the health services (11%) we really need help to keep achieving everything we offer and you’ll be surprised at what we do as the only palliative care service that operates 24/7 in Cornwall. To explain here’s a snap shot of our week; we’ll directly touch the lives of 135 patients and their families both inside and outside of our two hospices. This will include seeing and treating three outpatients in our day case unit, one of our consultants will help five patients with difficult pain problems at a clinic at Treliske where we will also attend around 25 patients at three oncology clinics and review between 15 and 20 patients on the acute wards. We’ll also visit four patients at home or in a nursing home or community hospital, treat 40 Lymphoedema* patients and provide on-going education for 10 medical students and two doctors who are training to be GPs.  On top of all this our specialist advice line, the only one available in Cornwall 24 hours a day, will take an average of 10 calls from other healthcare professionals.” 

Cornwall Hospice Care will feature each of the stories on social media and on the charity’s website and hope others will be inspired to share their experiences and to support the charity.