Days away from St Catherine’s Hospice’s biggest fundraising event of the year, the widow of a man from Horsham has shared how the charity has supported them in their time of deepest need.
Donald McCloud Manson beat cancer three times before recently losing his fourth battle with the disease.
His wife Marian has shared her husband’s story he wrote shortly before he died.
He said: “It’s come back in my throat now but I can still breathe and talk.
“The doctors have told me that this one won’t respond to treatment so St Catherine’s Hospice are helping me.
“Nigel and Tiz from St Catherine’s come to visit us at different times. Nigel is one of the Palliative Care Nurses at St Catherine’s; he sorts out my medication.
“He’s not the only one treating me but straight off you can tell he’s an expert.
“He knows just what to do and the doctors respect him. We trust him completely, Marian and me.
“He helps make sure I’m not in too much pain or feeling sick, which is a good thing because I’ve got lots to do, I can’t waste time.
“Tiz is part of the St Catherine’s Therapies team and started coming to the house when I said I need help walking.
“I like to get out, like to walk in the fresh air but I lose my breath and my balance is no good. I had one crutch but that didn’t work, if I put it on one side I’d just fall over the other way.
“We chatted and Tiz suggested one of those walkers. Now that is great, I can lean on that, my balance isn’t so much of a problem anymore and it folds up out of the way when I need to get on the bus.
The most important reason for me to keep moving is Marian. I might be a difficult patient but my wife is a special woman so I’ve got to spoil her, even if it’s just making sure she always comes down to a cup of tea in the morning.
“With my walker I was able to go into town and get a great big bouquet of flowers, then leave it out for her to find on our anniversary.
“She didn’t expect it at all, you should have seen her smile.
“Thanks to Tiz and Nigel I can also keep going down to the pub at the weekend, I have one with the boys and get a lift home with my mate, Big Brian.
“I don’t drink so much anymore but keeping those connections is important.
“Nigel and Tiz have helped me keep being myself, but I’ve known for a long time that St Catherine’s is a really special place.
“Years ago I visited friends that were staying at the hospice. We could have a drink and sing around the piano.
“I want to go there when the time comes. To the hospice, with the piano and the whiskey.
“If there’s one thing I could say to anyone reading this; I just want to thank St Catherine’s, they have done everything for us.
“We were so down, they’ve picked us up, made us happy. They are marvellous people, so kind. We can trust them completely, it’s done wonderful things for us, I can’t say it enough.”
Thousands of people are expected to head to Tilgate Park in Crawley on September 4 to the annual Dragon Boat Race.
Last year the fiercely fought contest attracted more than 4,000 people to witness 33 teams, dressed in fancy dress, race 40ft dragon boats across the lake in a bid to be crowned champion or best dressed crew. The day raised more than £50,000 for St Catherine’s.