I had heard about Dorothy House just from living in the area and seeing the shops on the high street but I had never thought that, as a family, we would have personal involvement.
My husband Richard was diagnosed with cancer in August 2014 and we were told at the outset that there was little that could be done. We were told that Dorothy House would contact us, which they did, but at that point Richard didn’t feel that he needed any support.
Within a few months, though, his health had deteriorated and his consultant suggested that we make contact again. We were allocated a nurse to come and see us. My expectation was that this would be a ‘clinical’ experience, but when Lesley arrived I felt such a sense of relief that someone who understood what was going on had come to support us and guide us through what were challenging months ahead. She was a breath of fresh air! She was able to make sure that Richard’s medication was correct and liaised with the doctor if it needed tweaking. She always had a smile and a kind, understanding manner.
During the last couple of weeks, Dorothy House provided night care and the carers who came showed such kindness to Richard and to the rest of the family at such a difficult and emotional time.
A few months after Richard died, my daughter and I both asked if we could receive some counselling and within a week this was arranged. I found this to be very helpful. I had questions and emotions I was able to discuss openly and I was assured that so much of what I was feeling was normal. I am so grateful to Lesley Holley for guiding us through such a hard time.
After 19 months, we decided to mark Richard’s birthday with a Dorothy’s Tea Party and raise funds for Dorothy House. Friends kindly offered help and donated delicious cakes. I advertised the event to friends on Facebook and, as well as those who paid to come, other friends who lived too far away sent contributions. We had such fun on the day setting up and serving our guests. Everyone who came commented on how much they’d enjoyed it and our final total raised was £798.