George’s Story

December 20th, 2019 Posted in Patient Stories, Supporter Stories

George Knight’s mum, Shelley, was diagnosed with secondary cancer last New Year’s Eve, 31st December 2018. This year, Shelley’s family are facing their first Christmas without her. Although dreading this Christmas, George wants it to be a celebration of his mum’s life.

He also felt it was right to share his story and to say thank you to anyone who has given to the Hospice. Because of you, Rowans was there when the family needed it.

Here’s what George would like to say:

George, second from right, with his Mum, Dad and sister Lucy at a wedding in 2010.

“It took the loss of my Mum to realise how sheltered my life had been. Despite experiencing loss before, I had never had to experience the trauma of a life cut so short; a life that still had so much more to live for, and so much more to give.

My Grandad passed away last year, on his Death Certificate the cause of death was “Grand old Age”. That is the way to go. My Mum was 64. About to embark on a new phase of her life with Dad, in their new home on Hayling Island, near the surf. But instead, we learned she had secondary cancer in the spine. At the time we didn’t know, but it was probably already in her brain.

The only time I saw Mum in their new home she was in so much agony we had to call for an ambulance. She never came home after that. She spent the rest of the time in hospital. Firstly in Southampton and then Portsmouth. Eventually we ended up at Rowans, which just felt amazing.

Homely, tucked away, surrounded by trees and gardens brimming with life; being at Rowans you felt secure.

She spent a few weeks at Rowans. We actually had everything ready for mum to come home, but she suffered a bleed on the brain. I was in London and my sister was in Swansea when we got the call to come to see Mum. Ali my Mum’s nurse was there to meet us. Before we went into see Mum, she took us aside and sweetly spoke to us explaining Mum’s situation. The only way I can explain it is that Ali needed to rip the plaster off, but she choose to peel it off gently.

Like so many it is only when you need the service you appreciate the importance of making a donation.

You expect a level of empathy from the staff but the empathy at Rowans was beyond anything I have ever had experienced! The nurses talk to you about ‘mum’, not ‘the patient’.

The language they use is familiar, kind. Living each moment with you, you can sense they even really hurt with you. They felt like they were family. Rowans Hospice were not only there looking after my Mum during her last days, but they provided further support for my family and I, as we have started to come to terms with our loss. Not living nearby to my Dad, it takes the weight off my mind that he has Rowans ongoing support.

So thank you to everyone who has ever donated to Rowans. Thank you for the care and support you have given to my mum and my family.

Like many people, I never even thought about donating to a Hospice. I never thought about ever needing their support. Like so many it is only when you need the service you appreciate the importance of making a donation. So through taking on my own fundraising challenges, I want to make sure hospice care is available for other families who will need Rowans empathy, care and support.

It is strange that despite Rowans being the place where I lived the worst moment of my life I cannot think of a more beautiful place to have spent that time.

Shelley Knight on a transit stop in the Seychelles. Taken in 1982 on the steps of a 747.

Even before my Mum passed, my Dad and I had signed up to cycle the EPIC 100km Rowans Ride in order to give back to Rowan’s for the amazing care they were providing my Mum. Soon after my Mum passed I realised that I wanted to try and give back even more if I could. This led to me deciding to go Sober for October, as well as seeing how far I could run / walk throughout the month.

My initial target was to travel 320km (over 10km a day) and I hoped to raise £1,000 for this and the ride. Fast forward to the end of the September and after spending four hours trying to keep up with my Dad’s back wheel we had both finished the EPIC Rowans Ride. If it had been a Top Gear lap our times would have had ‘VERY WET’ written on them!

I was motivated for October as I had already reached my £1,000 fundraising target for the cycle alone. I was eager to make proud all the amazing people who had sponsored me. Thankfully, I met my goal and ended the month of October completely sober with 511km travelled (16.5km a day!) and £1,300 raised for Rowans.

If I could say a massive thank you to everyone that has donated to Rowans. And to Rowans Hospice for everything that they have given my family and I. You are all amazing, the support from every member of staff and volunteer has been incredible.

It is strange that despite Rowans being the place where I lived the worst moment of my life I cannot think of a more beautiful place to have spent that time.

If you have read this, please don’t be me. Don’t wait until you need Rowans support until you support them. Make sure Hospice care is there should you, your family or friends need it. Donate or do what you can now. – George Knight

To help us care for more families like George’s, please donate today.

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