A grandmother who is receiving ‘life-changing support’ from Bristol’s only adult hospice is urging people to get behind the campaign to secure its future.
Jenny Roberts, 76, has been at St Peter’s Hospice in-patient unit for 10 weeks after being referred there following a difficult operation to remove a cancerous tumour from her hip.
Jenni, a grandmother of one, says the care and support she has received from the hospice has ‘saved her’
“They are angels,” she said.
“They have carried me through this journey all the way. I would not have made it through without them.”
Jenny, from Knowle, was first diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago.
She overcame that only for it to return three years later, leaving her needing further treatment.
Life had almost returned to normal for the mum of two until February this year when she started to have difficulty walking.
Investigations at Bristol Oncology and Heamatology Centre revealed Jenny had a cancerous tumour in her hip.
During this time Jenny was supported by the hospice’s community nurse specialists and attended the charity’s day hospice.
In July this year, she underwent a complicated operation to remove the tumour in her right hip that also resulted in her upper leg bone being removed.
Despite the best efforts of surgeons, the repairs did not hold and the hip collapsed, leaving her in terrible pain.
Following two weeks in hospital after the operation, Jenny was moved to St Peter’s Hospice in-patient unit where she has been since the end of July.
“Initially, I was being supported by the hospice’s community nurse specialists, who used to come out to see me and I was attending the day hospice,” she said.
“I was really struggling at home but as well as giving me emotional support, they also helped me with the pain and with getting equipment I needed to help me.”
Since being at the hospice, the medical team have helped bring Jenny’s pain under control.
“I still have some pain, but it is nowhere near as bad as it was before,” she said.
“They have really taken care of me. My family do not live close by and I was feeling very isolated.
“The staff at St Peter’s Hospice just took over and have been so kind.”
Nurses from the hospice recently took Jenny back home to see if she could manage living alone with the support of a team of carers.
But it is likely that she will now move to a care home.
“They have just sorted everything out for me,” she said. “It has taken away so much of the stress.”
Jenny’s story comes at the same time as the hospice has launched its When It Matters Most campaign – backed by Bristol Live – to raise money to secure its long-term future.
The charity has lost an estimated £2 million in income due to the pandemic and has had to reduce the number of beds in its in-patient unit from 15 to 10.
For the first time in the charity’s 40-year history, it is also faced with making staff redundant.
Day services at the hospice have also been suspended.
Its community nurse specialists and its hospice at home team continue to work with patients in the community.
“Now it is more vital than ever that the people of Bristol support the hospice,” said Jenny.
“It is such a resource that needs to be protected for others in the future who may need it.
“The hospice has been a complete lifeline to me. And I want it to be here for others like me.”