An Arthur Rank Hospice personal story: 'I felt like somebody who was part of the family'

Kirsty Bradbrook talks about the care her husband and family received in the Arthur Rank Hospice at the start of this year.

Mike Bradbrook was suddenly and unexpectedly diagnosed with renal and metastatic bone cancer in January 2017. Unusually, due to his complex needs, he lived and was cared for at Arthur Rank Hospice for three months, from February to May 2017.His wife Kirsty Bradbrook bravely shares their story as the Charity aims to raise £20,410.96 during November – enough to run the entire Hospice’s services for 24 hours.

Last Saturday, 11 November, marked a significant day for Arthur Rank Hospice: a year since the Hospice opened its doors to care for patients at its purpose-built state-of-the-art new home in Shelford Bottom. The hard work and fundraising continues, as the Hospice continues to welcome and care for hundreds of patients from its new facility, the Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre in Wisbech and across Cambridgeshire in people’s own homes.

A further £2 million is required to reach the £10.5 million target for the build project itself, whilst the Hospice’s supporters – fondly known as ‘Team Arthur’ – continue to support the Hospice in its efforts to secure the £7.45 million needed annually, so that the Hospice’s vital daily care and services can continue to be delivered to adults over 18 who are living with a life-limiting illness or condition.

For many £7.45 million is a not an amount of money that is easy to envisage. When you break it down to a cost of £20,410.96 per day this still feels vast, yet this is the cost for the Hospice’s vital services across the county 365 days a year, to thousands of patients each year. Remarkably the care remains free of charge thanks to the incredibly generous support of our local community. However everyone does - and can - play a part and when you break down the Hospice’s entire services 'daily costs’ still further, it equates to £850.46 each hour, £14.17 each minute and 24p each second, figures that are much more relatable to most.

Kirsty, like many others who have received the Hospice’s all-encompassing care, says: “This whole scenario was the worst thing that has ever happened to me, that I have ever experienced or I could imagine ever experiencing in my life […] and I feel confident saying the same about Mike. I find it astounding that despite the torture of that situation, there was still something positive in it and that - without a shadow of a doubt - is what we got from the hospice.”

”There are certain minutes and certain hours …. Mike’s last hour: having Debbie, one of the Healthcare assistants sat with us in the room for that hour. […] She was there ready to step in, when the time came. There were a lot of those minutes. Just those little tiny things: a nurse who stood with him, for 15 minutes and did breathing exercises at night, to help ease his pain, to help calm him […] They cleaned him, when he couldn’t physically move. And they just made him feel better, when I couldn’t do that. There’s not a financial value you can put on that, there just isn’t.

The care given to the Bradbrook family was – as you will read in Kirsty’s story – unique and personalised to them, but echoes that of hundreds of other families who have received Arthur Rank Hospice’s care since the move from Mill Road to Shelford Bottom.

As Kirsty explains,  she had never before thought about what a hospice was, but when she and her family arrived she was “overwhelmed with relief”. She adds “It felt warm and friendly […] I’m not sure what I expected, but it certainly wasn’t that”.

You can help care for families like the Bradbrook's both now and in the future by celebrating and supporting the Arthur Rank Hospice during their first birthday month, this November. Hold your own fundraising Birthday Party at home or in the office (email to let them know your plans) or take up their invite of “No Presents Please!”, instead giving a donation at the Hospice’s 1st Birthday campaign page on JustGiving - £14.17 will pay for 1 minute of vital all-encompassing care for people like Mike and his family, every minute, every hour and every day across your county.

To read Kirsty’s full account of the care her husband Mike and family received, please click HERE or view the video of her telling their story on the Arthur Rank Hospice's YouTube channel (please note that this is an emotional account which may be upsetting to watch).

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