In July this year, the hospice enabled Michael, a special ‘Pops’, to see his granddaughter on the night of her year six prom. The special evening took place more than three decades after Michael’s son was christened at the hospice when his own father was a patient. For the Dawson family, the hospice has enabled some of the most precious moments to be shared, and treasured.
Julie Dawson, Michael’s daughter, explained:
My Pops, as I call him, was diagnosed with lung cancer at the end of March. Unfortunately he has secondary cancer in his spine that has now left him paralysed from the waist down. We were looking after him at home until last week when he took a turn for the worse and, to be honest, we didn’t know if he’d make it to the weekend. He was admitted to Rowcroft and it was discovered he had a problem with his calcium levels, which they’re treating, for the first time in six weeks he’s been able to sit in a chair and have a proper bath.
It was my daughter Neve’s year 6 prom on Tuesday and the nurses arranged for Dad to see her in her dress on the way to the prom. We organised a pink party bus to bring her and her friends to the hospice and the nurses wheeled Dad’s bed out onto the patio where he lay in the shade and gave her the biggest cuddle. Neve was teary but for Pops to be able to see her, it was brilliant, I have a son and three daughters and he won’t be around to see the other girls in their dresses. It was a very private moment, people may have been watching us but the whole family was there and it felt like we were in our own little bubble. That’s what the hospice is all about; making memories. My brother was the first baby to be christened at Rowcroft three months after the hospice opened in 1982, when Dad’s Dad was being cared for following a brain haemorrhage.
The nurses are absolutely amazing. A few days ago I walked in and Dad had the Pet Shop Boys on his iPad and was dancing to it with the nurses. At the hospice he’s just Michael, not ‘Michael with cancer’ and it feels like they’ve got all the time in the world for you.
Rowcroft is a life line to families down here and we are lucky to have them.