5 March 2013
Mothers are special every day of the year but this Sunday (10th March) is Mother’s Day giving us all the opportunity to let our mum’s know just what they mean to us. For some mum’s Mother's Day is made even more special as they are able to make more precious memories with their loved ones who are living with a life limiting illness.
Angie Picton is an incredible mother who not only looks after her severely disabled daughter, Ellie, but also Ellie’s 12 other siblings. Ellie attends the Day Care at Keech Hospice Care which means the world not only to her but her family as well.
Angie said; 'Having Ellie come to Keech means I can get on with all the other things that a busy mum has to deal with. I can give the other children the attention they need without having to worry about Ellie and get on with normal things like doing the shopping, putting washing on or cleaning.'
When Ellie was born, she suffered Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, a complete lack of oxygen to the brain, for 15 minutes. Her brain damage is global, which means it affects everything, and she also suffers with respiratory problems. It is unknown how much damage there is, so her family take each day as it comes.
Angie continues; 'We live in a very busy household and Ellie is the youngest of 12 siblings. Her brothers and sisters love her very much but are wary of looking after her because of her medical condition. It’s a big responsibility as she needs constant, round the clock care.'
'At Keech, I know she’s safe. It’s peace of mind, fun for her and we know there’s somewhere we can get the support we need and have someone to turn to. It’s nice to meet other people in similar situations, too, and my son goes to Sparklers, the sibling support group, which is so helpful for him. He gets a bit unsettled sometimes and he can often ask them something he might not want to ask me.'
'I have an awful lot to do as most mums will tell you, but at Keech I know she’s got someone with her all day, and lots of things to do. I would really miss this lovely place for Ellie. It’s wonderful. If it got closed down she would miss out on so much. I feel she would take a step back again and she’s taking steps forward here. It’s been so good for her here, it would be brilliant if you could help Keech to keep the door open. Not just for Ellie, but for all the kids I know rely on their help.'
For some, Mother’s Day is a gloomy reminder that they have sadly lost a loved one. Christopher Ford lost his mum, Maureen, to cancer on 29 February 2012. He talks about how Keech not only cared for his Mum but also for him: 'My Mum was diagnosed with lung cancer in Autumn 2010. She received chemo- and radiotherapy and it appeared, from what we were told by the hospital consultants, that she was responding well to the treatment. Mum began to experience back pains and whilst the diagnosis was that this was as a result of osteoporosis and not linked to the cancer, it was from that point on her health really began to deteriorate. With Mum’s mobility suddenly becoming increasingly difficult, we thought it best to move her in with me and my girlfriend and I became her main carer. Caring for mum was hard, but there was never a question about me doing it; she was my mum after all.'
'Through MacMillan nursing, mum was referred to Keech who it was anticipated could provide help with her chronic fatigue and pain management. It took a few weeks for mum to be admitted to Keech, but after she was admitted blood tests quickly showed that she had kidney failure. A week after being admitted she died – it was very quick. The cancer had spread to her other organs.'
'The standard of care at Keech was simply amazing. As soon as we arrived at Keech I could tell that this was an altogether different facility providing a completely superior level of care.'
'Apart from the lovely surroundings and the nice room that mum had to herself, we were encouraged to stay with mum, to make drinks whenever we wanted and to eat with her at mealtimes. There were no visiting hours to conform to and so I stayed from early in the morning to late at night. On finding out that mum had only a few days left to live, I pretty much moved into the hospice with her. During her last few days not only did the staff at Keech care for my mum but they also supported me too, providing meals, drinks and a bed to stay at night. This gave me great comfort and meant that I didn’t have to leave mum’s side. That would never have happened in hospital.'
'Mum was 77 and died on 29th February 2012. The end for mum was so quick and I was unprepared to lose her. I’m not yet over her death; however it helps me tremendously to know how well she was cared for and that I was with her the whole time in those final days. Keech was there for me and my family and that is something I will never forget.'
Keech hospice provides support and care not only to terminally ill patients but continues to support mothers and family members with bereavement counselling and advice. Keech however only receives 25% of its annual £5million income from the government, and therefore relies heavily upon the community it serves to help fundraising. So when buying your mother a present this year, please dig deep and donate anything you can so that these services are around for other mother’s who need your help.
To donate please click here or click here to buy a gift of care as a thoughtful gift for your mum while helping Keech at the same time.