Marie Curie supported our family soon after Mum’s diagnosis

Wendy's Mum Florrie - who was diagnosed with leukaemia and lymphoma
Wendy's Mum Florrie - who was diagnosed with leukaemia and lymphoma

“I never felt on my own during this difficult time,” says Wendy Stamp of her mother Florrie’s last few weeks. “Marie Curie gave us a package of care – they cared for me and the family as well as Mum. Their support was second to none. I don’t think we would have dealt with the situation so calmly without it.”

Florrie, who had leukaemia and lymphoma, was cared for by Marie Curie Nurses and at the Marie Curie Hospice, Cardiff and the Vale. She died at the hospice in July 2012 – just four weeks after diagnosis.

Wendy says: “The doctors said she had six to nine months to live but, in the end, it was much quicker. The whole situation was such a huge shock for all the family.”

Shortly after her mother’s diagnosis, Marie Curie Nurses visited Wendy and Florrie at home to discuss their needs.

“Although it was a terrible thing to go through, it was good to have that support mechanism right from day one. Sam, a young nurse, had an amazing bedside manner,” Wendy says.

Safe and comfortable

“After the first visit, he would come in every other day in the afternoon to see Mum. I could go to work and know someone was looking after her. Marie Curie fitted in with us – it really felt as if they were there for us. Sam even arranged for all of us to visit the hospice so we were aware of the environment.

“Mum lived on her own, as our father died eight years ago. She suffered from a mild form of vascular dementia. Thankfully, she was unaware of the horrible illness and thought the lovely people from Marie Curie were just visiting to say hello.

“Mum often got very agitated with new people, because of the dementia, but she was immediately calm with Sam. She thought he was lovely, and would let him in when she didn't let anyone else in her house. He made her feel safe and comfortable right from the beginning and he felt like part of the family. It was so important to me that Mum wasn't frightened or alone. In fact, I think the biggest thing Sam enabled us to do was to face it without feeling afraid.”

Close to the end, doctors advised that Florrie should go into the Marie Curie Hospice, Cardiff and the Vale.

The hospice helped us cope

Wendy says: “Mum went into the hospice on a Thursday. My four siblings and I were with her during those last days. Again the staff from Marie Curie were wonderful, in seeing the signs of Mum's illness and helping us cope as a family. On the Saturday they told us to go home and have a rest. We came back in on Sunday and she died later that evening with all of us around her. Sam called me to offer his condolences, which was so kind.

“The hospice also offered me and the family some bereavement counselling when she was in the hospice and afterwards, too. I’m glad I took up the offer. I was Mum’s main carer and I’d had to be strong for so long. It was great to talk to someone about it and have good old cry.

“As a thank you to Marie Curie, I ran the Cardiff Half Marathon last October. And bearing in mind that I’m 59, and had never ran a race before, it was quite an achievement. I know my Mum was cheering me on.”