When Natalie Thompson, 27 from North Tyneside, lost her Grandfather to cancer in December 2016, she was so overwhelmed with the level of care he received at St Oswald’s that she was determined to give back to them. Natalie, who now works for the charity, speaks about her experience as part of our Hospice Care Week (8th-14th October 2018) activities.
Natalie’s grandfather, Robert Thompson, who she affectionately refers to as ‘Grandad Bob’, received end of life care at St Oswald’s on the 12th-14th December 2016. As the second anniversary of his death approaches, Natalie reflects on her memories of her late Grandfather.
I suspected that Grandad Bob knew how ill he was but didn’t want any of the family to worry. I’d noticed a few behaviour patterns which weren’t in keeping with his normal character and he kept encouraging me to bring forward my wedding date. Had his symptoms not manifested as they did, I honestly don’t think he would have told me about his condition.
Caring for a close relative who is seriously ill can be very daunting and me and my sister were becoming increasingly concerned at how quickly Grandad’s illness was progressing. Having never faced a situation like this before, we were really worried about what we should do for the best. The doctors told me that Grandad needed to have round-the-clock professional care to help manage his condition and referred Grandad to St Oswald’s Hospice.
As a real home bird who liked everything done in a particular way, my family was worried if Grandad would settle at St Oswald’s. But we didn’t need to worry – within hours of arriving at St Oswald’s the amazing team of nurses had bathed him, washed his hair, given him a lovely meal and he appeared to be the most comfortable he’d been in months.
St Oswald’s is such a special place and all of the staff, volunteers and the services they provide are phenomenal. My only wish is that I’d heard about the Hospice sooner. The level of care Grandad received during those last few precious days was exceptional. I was able to place my trust in St Oswald’s who cared for him like one of their own. St Oswald’s is the most perfect place and allowed my Grandad to have a really peaceful and dignified death.
Motivated by the care that St Oswald’s had provided to her Grandfather, Natalie was determined to give back to St Oswald’s in some capacity and after initially fundraising over £10,000 for the charity alongside her colleagues at Marks and Spencer Silverlink, Natalie later came to work at St Oswald’s.
Coming to work at St Oswald’s was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Because of my experience at St Oswald’s, I came to appreciate how caring the Hospice is and wanted to be a part of something I am really passionate about. I know that my Grandad Bob would be so proud if he could see me in my new job and how I am able to give back to St Oswald’s. St Oswald’s offers such an important and much needed service; it’s brilliant to be in a position to give back to the charity which will forever hold a special place in mine and my family’s hearts.
Andrew Moir, Head of Retail at St Oswald’s, said:
Natalie has been a brilliant addition to our team and it’s inspiring to see how she has shown such determination to honour her Grandfather’s memory. Hospice Care Week provides us with a great opportunity to celebrate and recognise the many ways in which St Oswald’s provides care, not just to patients and their families, but to our staff and volunteers too. So many of our staff and volunteers support us because of a personal connection to the Hospice and want to help us raise awareness and money to a charity that has done so much for them and their loved ones.
If you’ve felt inspired by Natalie’s story and want to help make a difference, you can click here to find out how you can support St Oswald’s.