"The atmosphere was so special – humour, love, kindness, time for all… the list goes on."
In 2010, Rachel’s husband Andy was diagnosed with terminal cancer; a diagnosis that was to change their lives forever. Part way through Andy’s palliative care treatment, his GP introduced them both to a Specialist Palliative Care Nurse working in the community, Louise. In 2012, Louise introduced them to The Rowan Day Unit at Priscilla Bacon Lodge. Andy began attending regularly every Friday; Rachel took him and collected him each week for 2 years.
Rachel says of the Lodge, “What a wonderful place it was; volunteers working alongside clinicians, nurses, health care assistants, occupational therapists. The atmosphere was so special – humour, love, kindness, time for all… the list goes on. I was just in awe of everyone helping in their own way to make the lives of the patients coming from their homes every week easier. They had lunch there and took part in activities if they wanted to. It wasn’t sad; except, as expected, there were deaths also.”
Sadly Andy passed away in Priscilla Bacon Lodge in March 2014. Rachel was offered bereavement counselling there, which she says helped her so much and during those weeks she expressed her wish to be a volunteer there. A year later, she became just that and now also helps with fundraising for the new hospice.