Becca Brown from Hertfordshire fondly remembers childhood holidays in Cornwall with her Auntie Sue, who lived in Stenalees. But she also remembers frequent visits to support her Aunt when she developed lung cancer and has now embarked on a journey to help people understand the value of Cornwall’s two adult hospices.  Becca is the latest person to share her story as part of Cornwall Hospice Care’s #HospiceStories project and her short film will launch on Monday 15 June at www.cornwallhospicecare.co.uk

Becca, who lives in St Albans, was very close to her Auntie Sue and says the initial reaction to Sue going in to a hospice was one of horror;

“Not long after Sue's diagnosis we were told that she had been admitted into Mount Edgcumbe Hospice in St Austell. Being 300 miles away and not knowing much about hospices, this frightened the life out of me and my family. With no previous experiences of a hospice, I instantly thought that Sue had gone in because she was going to die. My imagination ran wild thinking about what to expect when I first walked in and nothing could have prepared me for what I first experienced. Sue was comfortable, enjoying watching all the birds in the beautiful garden, visiting the little shop and generally seeming really well, all things considered. It was such a big relief to see her this way and when she was admitted at different times over the next two years I knew she was in the best place possible.”

When Sue became very ill, Becca and her cousin stayed in the hospice day and night so they could be with her at all times and during this period Becca took the decision to fundraise for the charity that was providing care for them all; 

“I decided to sign up to trek along the Great Wall of China, even though the adventure was totally out of my comfort zone. In what was a very tragic and grief stricken time for all my family, one thing helped me through the grief. I continued to fundraise and train and kept in my mind exactly what I was doing it for, which spurred me on constantly. I wanted people to continue getting the fantastic care that Sue had received.”

“Before I knew it I was on a plane to Beijing! The challenge was probably one of the greatest experiences of my life. I met some absolutely inspirational people, and pushed myself to limits that I never thought possible. Sue's death is something that will stay with me every day of my life, and I will always miss her, however being able to take part in this challenge gave me a very positive experience out of a negative situation.”

“I can never begin to repay the hospice for how they treated and cared for Sue, and I will always feel indebted to the nurses, doctors and volunteers that kept smiling and being some of the most kind and compassionate people I have ever met. But I certainly feel like the challenge gave me a good way of showing my gratitude.”

“What I can’t believe is the struggle the charity face in finding the funds needed to continue this amazing work.  Their tiny grant from the NHS pays for just 41 days of care at the two hospices, so the fundraising and shop teams have to find the £7.5million needed each year to pay for the other 324 days. I hope that by sharing my story I might help people to understand why their support is so vital. You don’t have to trek like I did, perhaps just have a coffee morning or take part in an organised event like Swim Trelissick that’s coming up on Sunday 19 July.”