"We were so lucky to be able to stay with Haley as much as we did, and it felt as though we were part of a wider family. Nothing was too much trouble; the patient care is exceptional."
Marion Powell from Horsford recently completed the South Downs Way 100-mile walking challenge, raising over £3,000 for the new hospice appeal.
Once built, the state-of-the-art palliative care unit, containing 24 beds, day patient and outreach facilities, next to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, will replace the 40-year-old Priscilla Bacon Lodge on Unthank Road, Norwich.
Marion’s considerable achievement was also poignant, as it fulfilled a promise she made to her daughter, Haley Gosling.
Haley was diagnosed with kidney cancer on her 45th birthday, 17th September 2019 after feeling unwell for a short time. A scan showed a 9cm lesion on her left kidney, which required the removal of the kidney just 10 days later. Shortly after this, the family learned the devastating news that the cancer was already Stage 4 and had spread to her lymph nodes and lungs.
Recovery from the operation was slow for Haley, as she had blood clots and continuous infections which further weakened her body. Happily, she was able to go home to her family in Wymondham for a few days, before she was again readmitted to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital with yet another infection, where she remained for 3 weeks.
The family received even more shocking news; Haley only had a few weeks to live, as her body was so weak that treatment was no longer an option.
On 8th November, Haley was admitted to Priscilla Bacon Lodge. Marion recounted: “Haley was very scared and was unsure of what would happen next, as we all knew this was the last part of her journey. But from the minute we arrived, we were greeted by warm, friendly faces and we were introduced to all the staff on duty who would be looking after Haley. It was calm and reassuring for all of us to know that Haley would have the best possible care.
Haley soon settled in and knew that she was so lucky to be cared for in The Lodge by such wonderful staff. After a few days, her pain management was complete, and she was comfortable and settled. A member of staff said to me: “No one wants to be in a hospice, but this is the best place to be”, which proved to be true on so many levels.”
On 16th November, thanks to incredible support from the staff, Haley married her partner Kelly at The Lodge, with her immediate family in attendance. Thanks to the Priscilla Bacon Lodge Support Group, a special trip to Cromer was arranged for the couple, as Haley had a lifelong passion for the sea.
Marion continued: “We were so lucky to be able to stay with Haley as much as we did, and it felt as though we were part of a wider family. Nothing was too much trouble; the patient care is exceptional. We were always informed about Haley’s care and medication, and there was always someone available to share your worries or concerns and give you support, which was incredibly reassuring.
Our family will be eternally grateful to the wonderful, caring, dedicated staff who cared for our beautiful daughter. The new hospice is desperately needed, so the amazing staff can provide wonderful care in a better environment for those patients and families who need it the most. Our experience at Priscilla Bacon Lodge will stay with us forever.”
Haley was in The Lodge for 6 weeks and died peacefully on 31st December 2019, just 14 weeks after being diagnosed.