Breast cancer survivor Lorraine explains what the group has meant to her: “I’ve been attending the group for over two years now, and normally wouldn’t miss a week. In fact, my daughter lives overseas and asked me to pick her up from the airport for her first visit home in months. She was quite shocked when I said no, I can’t miss my time at Willow Wood. But it is that important to me. It’s so positive and I really take inspiration from others. And more than just the group, everyone and everything lifts my spirits – the welcome from the volunteers on reception, the way the restaurant staff keep a baked potato waiting for my lunch, it’s a very special place full of very special people.”
However, face-to-face contact with the support groups and other day patients has had to be suspended. Nicky Byrne, head of clinical services explains. “Because our patients would be very susceptible to Covid-19 we took the decision at an early stage to close our Day Services. That doesn’t mean that our work has come to a full stop, we ring our patients on a regular basis, to advise, support and monitor their conditions and because we have such close relationships, we’re able to pick up on any worries at an early stage. We’ve sent them all information on local resources, suitable exercise programmes and how to stay mentally stimulated. And they all know that they can pick up the phone and contact us if they need support whether psychological, physical or even to collect a prescription.”
Lorraine agrees: “I must admit I do look forward to my call. They are so upbeat they always cheer me up if I’m feeling a bit down. And if I have any niggling worries it’s good to know I can talk them through. I do know, however, that it takes £7,650 every single day to keep Willow Wood going, and that’s why I’ve put my name to their Summer Superdraw campaign.
“I raised £1,000 last year in their Midnight Wander, but with fundraising events cancelled and their shops closed, taking part in the draw is more important than ever. Buying raffle tickets at just £1 each helps Willow Wood carry on helping me, and so many more people who rely on the Hospice. I’m asking you to go to www.willowwood.info and buy tickets now – and every ticket gives you the chance to win the £2,000 jackpot prize! Please help your local Hospice through this difficult time.”
Willow Wood continues to care for the community of Tameside and Glossop, although certain changes have been made to the way we work.
For many day patients, our support groups have been a lifeline. As well as specific groups like the O2 Café for those with COPD, we normally run weekly men’s and women’s groups where patients can share experiences, learn from others and be supported by Willow Wood staff and trained volunteers.
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