Twilight Participants

In honour of her mother’s memory, Abigail and her sister decided to take part in the Twilight Walk not only to raise vital funds for the hospice but to also keep their mother’s memory alive. In her own words, here is Abigail’s story about her beloved mother, Susan.

Abigail's Story

Two years ago, my mum was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of ovarian cancer. She had just turned 74; her husband had died just a year before, which was hard on her as she cared for him also. She had COVID really badly and afterwards, she was affected by long COVID, but was determined to build her health back up again. She was involved in many different activities; she went to church every Sunday and took part in a few church groups, women's groups, and a book club. But she loved to be outside walking; we would often meet and go on walks together. She wanted to walk longer distances without feeling tired, before COVID she would still go swimming and even do circuit training at the gym. She was really active and living a really full life.

It was the first week of January, and I called her to make sure everything was okay as we hadn’t seen each other over the festive break. She said she had been suffering from stomach pain, which she thought was just really bad IBS. This was the start, and from there, it went really downhill. She didn’t know she had cancer; we don’t have a history of it in our family, especially stage 4 terminal cancer. It was a complete shock to us all. She was then referred to a local hospital where, after two weeks full of tests, it was confirmed that is what she had. She decided herself that she wasn’t going to go down the chemotherapy route because she was told she only had a couple of months left to live, and chemotherapy would only give her one extra month. She decided she was just going to let the cancer run its course, at which point the Macmillan staff got involved and said that they would try to find a hospice place for her. She was then referred to LOROS. For my family, this experience was horrifying. To watch our mum go from the lively vibrant person that she was to slowly fade away to nothing over the course of just six weeks, it isn’t enough time to get your head around it.

When mum heard she was coming to LOROS, she was actually really happy. Where she was, they were getting everything wrong for her and for her kind of care. She was on the wrong type of ward, and they were persistent in getting her well enough so she could go home, which really caused her distress as she used to be a nurse. So, to be told that she actually has a bed in the hospice, she was really relieved about it, and when she got to LOROS, she told me, “Oh, it's like being in a 5-star hotel!” The focus was about making her as comfortable as possible as she entered end of life, she even had a personal radio where she loved to listen to her classical music. She was very religious, so she was very happy to talk to the priest on-site, and we got in touch with her own minister who even came to visit her a few times on the ward to read to her. The staff at LOROS were incredibly good at describing the kind of things that would happen as she moved closer to end of life, especially when she started to hallucinate, because if we never knew that was going to happen, then that would have been very scary for us as a family.

It helped my mum that she had some time with a LOROS counsellor, as it helped her to understand the situation that she was in. They helped me and my sister too, after mum had died as this all came out of the blue and really affected my mental health, the counselling services were a lifeline. Without them, I don’t know how I would have got through it. So, I cannot imagine someone going through a similar thing and not having the services such as LOROS in place to support them. Also, what inspired me to fundraise for LOROS is witnessing the quality of care at a hospice. The thought of someone not having access to that at the end of their life is something I never want to happen.

I cannot praise LOROS enough for what they have done for our family and I now try to get involved in any way I can. Taking part in the Twilight Walk was an easy way of raising funds for a great cause without having to get upset, emotional, or having to think of a really hard time in your life, helping to put a positive narrative to a negative situation. For anyone thinking of taking part in the Twilight Walk, I would simply say DO IT!! It’s a really lovely way to pay back for the care that your relatives got, and even if you don’t have a connection to LOROS, like us, you will never know if one day you would need this kind of help. I took part in the Twilight Walk last year, and I absolutely loved it! Me, my sister, and her friends all got involved, and it was brilliant. It was so much fun, and everyone was so helpful, friendly, and everyone just seemed happy to be there. At the end, one lady looked at us and said, “Your mum would be proud of you both,” and that’s what made it all worthwhile.

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LOROS, Groby Road, Leicester LE3 9QE
Fundraising Regulator