I am constantly reminded how precious life is!
The vast majority of people who apply to Willow for a Special Day have been referred by their nurse or GP, so we work hard to make sure that health professionals understand exactly how Willow works. Bev joined us last year as our new Nurse Advisor and it's her job to help build and strengthen these relationships. As a nurse with over 30 years palliative experience she has no doubts about the impact of a Special Day for seriously ill young adults.
I trained as a children’s oncology nurse in 1989 at the RMH in Sutton and following that I moved into adult palliative care at Princess Alice Hospice. I was really fortunate in 1994 to set up the first ever children’s community palliative care service at The Ellenor Foundation. In 2005 we recognised that children with palliative care conditions were living longer and I established a transition service for 16-25 year olds.
In 2009 I was given the great opportunity to set up the first ever young adult hospice – The J’s Hospice – for young adults 16-40. I was Director of Clinical Services at The J’s Hospice, but always visited patients as this was extremely important to me. While at The J’s Hospice I was extremely honoured to receive my MBE for services to life limited young adults.
I know that Special Days make a huge difference to people's lives. It gives them something to focus on and definitely something to look forward to. When you are going through such awful treatment it gives you a reason to keep going, which is extremely important. You want to make memories with your family and friends, and special days enable you to do this.
A special day has a huge positive impact on quality of life. The best part of my job is talking to health professionals about some of the amazing things we can do to make the people’s lives better. I love working with such a great dedicated team at Willow, who are determined to make a difference. I am constantly reminded how precious life is!