When Jess’s father was diagnosed with kidney cancer last year, it was a huge shock. He was always an active person and it was overwhelming.
But shortly after he was diagnosed, his health began to deteriorate. Jess knew that he was unwell but didn’t expect the end of his life to come around so quickly.
Mike became unwell very quickly and Jess was relieved when he was transferred to St Margaret’s Hospice’s In-patient Unit in Taunton to spend his final days.
“It didn’t take long for the cancer to take hold of my dad after he was diagnosed,’ Jess said. “We knew that my Dad needed to go somewhere where his needs would be met as he just wasn’t comfortable at home. But, when he went to St Margaret’s, that changed.
“I must admit that I was nervous, I’d never set foot in a hospice before my Dad was ill. It all became real when I walked into the hospice for the first time. There was space and warmth and all the staff were kind and supportive which really helped in the darkest of times.
“Due to the coronavirus pandemic, visits to the hospice were limited to protect patients and staff, so I didn’t get to see my Dad as much as I would have liked. But still, even during what was a difficult time, the hospice staff went above and beyond to support me.
“They made sure that my Dad was free of pain and gave him the best care possible at the end of his life and that is something I’ll always be grateful for.”
A few months after Mike passed away, Jess saw an appeal for volunteers in the Bridgwater Mercury and decided to sign up as she wanted to give something back to the hospice which helped him.
Since she signed up, Jess has volunteered at St Margaret’s Charity Cycle Ride event and Taunton fete and said she hopes to continue volunteering in the future.
“I really enjoyed volunteering at the hospice’s Charity Cycle Ride in July as it was great to meet new people and there was a great atmosphere. It felt lovely to be able to give back to the hospice,” Jess said. “After I volunteered there, I was asked if I wanted to go and volunteer at the Taunton fete.”
“I was a bit hesitant at first as I wasn’t sure if I would feel comfortable going back to the place where my father died but I am pleased that I went. It was nice to see people supporting the hospice and to meet other volunteers and speak to staff.”
“The people who work at St Margaret’s are passionate about what they do; they really care about patients and their families even during the worst times. If you have any time to spare, I’d encourage you to go and volunteer at St Margaret’s as it’s rewarding and is a great support to the hospice.”
We would like to thank Jess for sharing her story with us.