“The stairlift gives me back my independence”

Sheena Gibbs has cared for many people over the years and now we are privileged to care for her through the Marie Curie Hospice, Hampstead. Thanks to our partnership with Acorn Stairlifts, Sheena had the freedom to return home, but still visits the hospice regularly.  

Smiling woman in a stairlift with Marie Curie Occupational Therapist and Acorn engineer
Sheena with Marie Curie Occupational Therapist Nicola and Acorn engineer Sean

Caring for others

“I used to be a shared-lives carer, which means that vulnerable people lived in my home. I did everything for them and even though it was hard work, it was gratifying. At the end it became a struggle for me, so I knew something was going on.

“I’d had a lot of illness prior to them finding out I’d got leukaemia, and I kept falling over. The second lot of chemo practically took the life from me and I was put on a life-support machine. After that, I wasn’t progressing with walking and getting out of bed, so the idea came up for me to go to the Marie Curie Hospice.”

Getting support

“The minute I went to the hospice, everything lifted from me. I can’t fault that place in any way. I had a beautiful room with bay windows and the nurses kept asking: ‘Is there anything I can do?’ If I couldn’t walk to the shower room, they wheeled me in and sat me on the chair to have a shower. Nothing was too much for them. In hospital, I was left alone unless I rang the buzzer, but Marie Curie helped me so much. They took time out, it was lovely.”

Looking ahead

“My first aim is to marry my partner, Peter. In hospital, just before they made me unconscious, he said to me: ‘I’ll make you a deal: you fight this, and I’ll marry you.’ I was told that I said yes and then I don’t remember anything else. My second priority is to go to the seaside. I’ve been through so much this past year – I just want to go to the seaside and forget it.”

Being independent

“When I had my bed downstairs, I could only use that part of the house. Nicola, the Occupational Therapist, thought a stairlift would do me the world of good. Boy, was she right! It saves me and my husband a lot of stress. I can’t walk up those stairs – my knees and legs just aren’t ready – so the stairlift is a godsend that gives me back my independence. I can go upstairs, I can use the toilet, I can go to bed. And I can come back downstairs in the morning to a normal life.”

We are grateful to Acorn Stairlifts   for pledging to install up to five stairlifts each month for people cared for by Marie Curie. You can also support people living with a terminal illness by making a one-off or regular donation to fund care in our hospices and people’s homes.