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Julia France’s daughter, Sadie Rance, died aged 24 in March 2015. Sadie was cared for by St Christopher’s and Julia was kind enough to share their experiences with us.
“When we first heard about St Christopher’s Sadie refused to go. She thought you’d go there to die and it would be full of old people, not young people like her. So they came to our home.
It was Phillipa Sellar (Clinical Nurse Specialist and Young Adult’s Group Co-Ordinator at St Christopher’s) who came to visit. Sadie was always so bubbly and friendly but she wouldn’t even talk to her. But Phillipa very quickly gained Sadie’s trust. The very next day after her visit, she’d come up with practical solutions for every one of Sadie’s problems at that time and pre-empted problems too. She was absolutely amazing.
Sadie wanted to die at home and I knew that St Christopher’s would make it happen; and they really did. One night Sadie could barely breathe so I called 111. The paramedics wanted to take her into hospital but we refused. If she was going to die, she would die at home. The hospice sent a doctor round who supported our decision and said no to the paramedics taking her in.
St Christopher’s has such caring, knowledgeable people. Phillipa would ring us even on her days off. People mustn’t be frightened of the hospice; it’s just a word that we’re conditioned to feel frightened of. It’s there if we want it and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.
I’ve been to a bereavement evening at St Christopher’s and I go along to Death Chat and, sometimes, I go in to just have a cup of coffee. Death Chat is a very good outlet for people who need to talk and it’s very well run by Andrew Goodhead, the Spiritual Care Lead at the hospice. Even though Sadie’s died I know that the team at St Christopher’s are there if I need help and there’s plenty going on there that I know I can go to. Phillipa still keeps in touch too. From the very start of treatment, to when Sadie passed, she was a complete rock for our whole family. We are eternally grateful to her and all at St Christopher’s who looked after my whole family, so very well.”