Bryn, START Clinic
I was looking for something to do after I lost my wife, I really needed to feel that I could make a difference, and help the community. The volunteer centre in Ashton suggested that I come to the START Clinic at Willow Wood, but I was a bit unsure at first. I didn’t know if I would be able to cope, especially since my wife had both cancer and COPD; I thought it might be too much for me, but decided to give it a go.
I’m so glad I did. I’m doing two days now in Day Services and absolutely love it. My role is to support the day patients; I greet them when they arrive and take them down to the lounge or the treatment room, make them a cup of tea or coffee and sit and chat to them. That’s really the important part.Just sitting and talking, making them feel at ease if it’s their first visit and they don’t know what to expect.And talking about their condition and prognosis. Sometimes people find it difficult to talk about themselves and their lives to their nearest and dearest, it’s easier to speak openly to someone outside the family.
But we talk about anything and everything; at the moment it’s the cricket! It’s wonderful to get to know the people who come to Willow Wood, there are some really inspirational people here, and everyone has a different tale. I really love that part of the job, making connections and becoming friends.
It was a bit of a shock to find out just how much Willow Wood relies on donations to maintain its care, and I’m doing my bit to raise funds by taking part in a tandem skydive. My sponsor forms are pinned up in the staff rooms and in the patient’s lounge, and I’ve already raised a substantial amount. I’m really looking forward to it, and one of the patient’s here has said she’s going to follow my example and take to the skies next year!
I’ve surprised myself at just how well I fit in. Quite apart from never having been in a Hospice before, I’ve never worked with so many women before either! But I absolutely love coming here; it really has changed my life.