Anne Brookes was a very fit and active person, who also enjoyed bird spotting. In the summer of 2015, Anne began to feel unwell, and she and her family were shocked, when in November she was diagnosed with secondary liver cancer. Even more shocking, Anne was told it was unlikely she would live to see Christmas.
Anne was a fighter though, and she underwent chemotherapy at Weston Park Hospital. She had been referred to the Rotherham Hospice Team, and with help from the Community Nurse Specialists, Anne was able to go home to spend Christmas with her family.
Once home, Anne asked her son, Pat, if he would take her to one of her favourite spots, Old Moor, an RSPB reserve in the Dearne Valley. Anne donned her walking boots and spent 20 minutes in the hide there. Pat recalls how exhausting it was for his Mum, but he knew it was something that she really wanted to do.
As Anne’s condition deteriorated, she was offered a bed in the Inpatient Unit. Pat and his wife, Caroline, were both very anxious about Anne being admitted as they had never been to the Hospice before, and they didn’t know what to expect. They needn’t have worried. Pat says “We were greeted by Staff Nurse Rachel, and Dr Katie. I remember thinking ‘WOW!’, as were shown to Mum’s room. It was just like a hotel – the ambience and the lighting was just perfect.”
During her stay, Anne particularly enjoyed being able to have a jacuzzi bath. It was a pleasant reminder of her aqua-fit classes that she enjoyed so much. Pat continued “Mum was really in her comfort zone at the Hospice. It seemed to naturally suppress her anxieties. We were looked after too. Nothing was too much trouble and our feelings were always first and foremost with the staff and volunteers. Everyone was, without exception, unbelievable. Rotherham Hospice facilitates everyday people. It is a sanctuary, and it makes a most difficult time easier.
Anne sadly passed away with Pat and Caroline by her side on 5th February 2016.