Rosie, shop manager

I first came into contact with Willow Wood eight years ago when my mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast, brain and lung cancer. Unfortunately, it was too far advanced for any treatment other than palliative care, so she was referred to Willow Wood’s day services. It made such a difference to her; she really loved it and became far more relaxed and accepting of her condition. She took part in arts and craft sessions, could chat with other patients, she even had her hair done. We all could see a big change in her, it was wonderful.

As her condition progressed, she needed more and more care. I had worked as a carer and took the decision to give up my job to look after her – it’s very hard to see someone you love going through that, and I didn’t want any of her immediate family to have to undertake the personal care she needed. Although we were very close it’s not quite the same and, in a way, I felt privileged to be with her at that stage in her journey.

However, as the brain cancer advanced, it affected her behaviour and she was taken into Tameside Hospital weighing just 7 stone. For some reason she was taken to the Stroke Unit and was in a room by herself. It really wasn’t a good place for her, she was anxious, and seemed to be fighting the treatment.

Luckily, someone from Willow Wood came up to assess her and she was moved here the same day. What a difference – it was astounding! She immediately seemed to relax and you could see she was at peace. She wasn’t here long; in fact, less than a day but it helped so much. She was calm, serene and we were able to let her go knowing there was no better place she could be, and no better care for her anywhere.

As soon as I was able I started to volunteer in one of the Hospice shops and now, around eight years later I’m managing our newest shop. I’m so proud to work for Willow Wood, but I know just how much it takes to run. £7,650 is needed every day and that’s why I’m doing as much as I can to raise funds for this wonderful, special place.

I do feel it’s my time now. I’ve raised my children and I’m coming up to the big 50, and I’m doing things I never thought I’d do. I’m scared of heights, but I’ll be doing the Willow Wood Abseil and Skydive next year. My son is a personal trainer, so he’s putting me through my paces and we’re also doing the Three Peaks Challenge next year. Everything we’re doing is for Willow Wood, because Willow Wood did so much for us.

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