When Dorothy Johnson was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, she knew she wanted to be at home for her final days. Her daughter, Catherine Mears, explains how Treetops Hospice nurses were invaluable in fulfilling her wish:
“Mum moved to Derby in her twenties with her job at the Inland Revenue Service. Mum and dad, Fred, were both keen walkers and met through a walking group in Derby. They were quite opposite really. Mum was quiet and academic. She liked things like history and learning languages and castles. Dad was more outgoing. But they were happily married for 50 years and had two children, myself and my sister Elaine.”
In 2004, Dorothy started to feel ill and tired in all the time. She was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer which affects the body’s immune system.
“Everything happened quite quickly. Mum had chemotherapy and was in hospital for a spell, but she definitely preferred to be at home. She was living downstairs, and my Dad was sleeping on a camp bed in the dining room to take care of her.
“Elaine and I were both working full time so we would go round to help but dad did everything really – caring for mum, cooking, washing. Even when she was in hospital, he wouldn’t miss a day visiting her.
“He did really well but dad was in his late seventies at that time, so we knew he needed help.”
The family contacted Risley-based Treetops Hospice who arranged for Hospice at Home nurses to come and help care for Dorothy at night.
“Having the Treetops nurses there meant Dad could get a decent night’s sleep and wasn’t worrying. He could then cope a bit better and face the next day.
“Mum died sooner than we expected in May 2005 aged 77. We were all there with her at home.
“I think if the Treetops nurses hadn’t helped, Dad would have struggled, and it would have got to a crisis point. The nurses were invaluable to us, especially my dad.”
Catherine, 59, is sharing her story to help promote the Treetops Lottery Super Draw when, in March, the top prize money is doubled to £2,000.
“I like to donate to local charities and Treetops Hospice is such a good cause. I think if you’ve got a chance of winning something as well, it makes it just a little bit more special.
“I won the Lottery jackpot last year and it was a lovely surprise. I’d recommend playing to anyone!”
Treetops is hoping that the Super Draw will raise £13,000 in 2023 with proceeds helping the hospice to provide free nursing care and emotional support for adults with life-limiting illnesses and those who’ve been bereaved.
Rebecca Lee-Jones, Treetops Lottery Manager, said: “We have to raise more than £4.3m to run the hospice every year and must raise 70% of this ourselves through charitable donations and fundraising activities, including our lottery.
“Entering the annual Super Draw is a fantastic way to support the hospice. You can purchase your entries through the post or online and you might win a cash prize. All proceeds from every ticket sold help fund vital services and makes a real difference to local people and families living across Derby, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.”
Super Draw tickets must be in by Wednesday 29 March, with the draw taking place on Friday 31 March. The Super Draw top prize is £2,000, second prize is £500, third prize £300, fourth prize £100, and there are 15 smaller prizes of £30.
Super Draw tickets are available to purchase online at www.treetops.org.uk/superdraw.
The Treetops Hospice Lottery has raised almost £8.5m for the end-of-life charity since it began in 2021.
This year, Treetops Hospice is celebrating 40 years of caring for people and their families in the local community. During this time, the hospice has supported thousands of patients with end-of-life nursing care and bereavement counselling.
Photo: Catherine Mears
About Treetops Hospice
Treetops Hospice, the leading end-of-life care charity in Derby, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, provides nursing care and emotional support for adults with life-limiting conditions, and their families.
The charity provides support from diagnosis onwards for patients with conditions such as cancer, motor neurone disease and heart and respiratory conditions.
This year, we are very proud to be celebrating 40 years of caring for people and their families in our local community. During this time, we have supported thousands of patients with end-of-life nursing care and bereavement counselling.
We have achieved this amazing milestone thanks to our dedicated volunteers who help across the whole hospice and in our charity shops, our hard-working staff team, and our supporters, past and present.
Last year, our team of Hospice at Home nurses provided over 20,000 hours of care to terminally-ill patients, working day and night to give much-needed support.
Our team of bereavement counsellors provided over 4,500 counselling sessions – more than 900 of them to children and young people. Wellbeing team members provide valuable information and support to those who need it.
Treetops is doing all it can to continue to support those in most need and welcomes donations to ensure the future of the hospice and its services: www.treetopshospice.org.uk/donate
A counselling session for a bereaved child costs £34.50. An overnight Hospice at Home nursing shift for a patient at the end of life costs £108.
Treetops Hospice, Derby Road, Risley, Derbyshire, DE72 3SS
0115 949 1264 | www.treetopshospice.org.uk
Registered Charity Number 519540