12 November 2018

More in

Katie Hill’s story

"Nothing about walking into St Christopher’s makes you sad"

Shortly after getting married, Katie Hill from Lewisham was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016.  She soon learned this had also spread to her liver and peritoneum. After four operations, and two cycles of chemotherapy, Katie is still hopeful her disease can be managed and is now taking part in a clinical trial at The Royal Marsden. In September 2018, Katie was referred to St Christopher’s to manage her pain, and in just a short time, Katie and her husband David Abbott have become big supporters of St Christopher’s, and along with their family and friends, have taken part in the recent Twilight Walk.

Katie explained, “When I told my Auntie that I had been referred to St Christopher’s, she reminded me that this hospice had cared for my Grandma Irene and this was where she had spent the last few days of her life more than eighteen years ago. I had no memory of this previously, but when she reminded me about the great care and dignity they had given her, it all came flooding back. My auntie told me they had looked after the whole family so well, supporting us all through the bereavement, and that despite it being such a difficult time, she felt it had been a positive experience. It was very emotional knowing that I am receiving care in the same place as my Grandma, but now I like thinking about the connection it gives me to her.”

Katy Hill at Twilight Walk

“Through talking about the hospice in the lead up to The Twilight Walk, I realise just how many lives it has touched. So many people share a connection, and have stories of the amazing care their friends and family have received.”

“Being referred to St Christopher’s in September was such a relief for me and my husband. At that point we were in a state of limbo, and I was finding my pain increasingly hard to manage. We’d exhausted all the standard treatment options available to me, and were awaiting news from three hospitals about the possibility of a clinical trial. My oncologist has been amazing throughout all of this, but I was now in a place where it was hard to tell who should be my first point of contact, and who I should ask for help. Seeing Anna at St Christopher’s for the first time made a huge difference; not only to the pain but to also my quality of life. We are both hugely grateful for the emotional support we’ve received, and I’m finding the acupuncture sessions are helping with the pain management enormously.”

There is genuine comfort knowing there is a support network in place for my friends and family

“While I am truly hopeful one of the clinical trials will be successful, it is likely I will die, and there is genuine comfort knowing there is a support network in place for my friends and family. And it’s a little less scary for me too now that I have a relationship with St Christopher’s, so if I choose to die at home I may even meet some of the nurses I’ve already been in contact with. Now I know there are trained staff who will support my husband, and people he can talk to, that’s a huge weight off my shoulders.”

“My first contact with St Christopher’s was an emergency. I had just been referred on the Friday, and had an appointment the following week but I was in so much pain I had to call the hospice on the Sunday. They were so helpful, and within two hours I was able to collect some medication to help relieve the pain, and within four hours I was able to enjoy the rest of the day.  It made such a huge difference to me. It was a game changer.”

“What St Christopher’s has done for me in a short space of time has been incredible. I wish I’d known these services were available to me sooner. And now I want to spread the word to help make people aware that services like these are available when they need them.”

What St Christopher’s has done for me in a short space of time has been incredible

“We took part in the Twilight Walk to raise as much money as possible after seeing that St Christopher’s has to fundraise £16 million each year to keep providing their services, which are so desperately important to so many people in different ways. The walk was so much fun, the route through Greenwich Park was great and we all enjoyed seeing the amazing sunset as we walked along the Thames.”

“It was such a lovely and emotional evening; to have 23 of my friends and family walking by my side. We had two pregnant friends join us, our friend’s son Dylan who is five years old, and our little pug, Alba, who all walked the distance. And my cousin and my brother were there too walking for our grandma. Together we raised over £4,500 in sponsorship for St Christopher’s. We were so lucky the weather was good, and it stayed dry.”

Katie concluded by saying, “Nothing about walking into St Christopher’s makes you sad, and if the end does come and I have to die at the hospice and not at home then I feel comfortable with that. It is comforting to know that this place will connect all the people in my life, as it does me to my Grandma.”

You may also be interested in

Compassionate Neighbours

Meet your compassionate neighbours

Compassionate neighbours connect with someone at home to help people feel supported and part of the community.

Marathon Runner Poppy Younger

Poppy’s marathon story

Poppy, an interior architect from Bromley shares her training update

Peter Ellis

Responding to Marie Cooper “Do you feel safe in our care?” 

Marie’s article resonated with me. As an inpatient 6 years ago, I still remember there were times when I felt vulnerable and unsafe in my experience of care, which is something Marie expressed as a feature of her care. I use Marie’s own reflections as a reference.

Skip to content