East Lancashire Hospice

Maddelina Swindlehurst

Maddalena says hospice staff put the care into career

Maddalena Swindlehurst felt like she was falling into a black hole shortly after being diagnosed with cancer. But, after being referred to East Lancashire Hospice the 87-year-old has made new lifelong friends.

Members of the Hospice’s CaST (Create and Support Therapies) group made the grandma-of-two feel welcome when she started coming in August 2017.

Maddalena, from Blackburn, said: “It has definitely helped having a social and support network. They really welcomed me and made me feel secure and all the members are in the same boat. They know how I feel and what I’m going through.

“I look forward to going and I have made genuine friends at the hospice. It’s good to be around people who understand your situation.”

Maddalena was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2016 and had a mastectomy. Within seven months, the cancer had returned. She had the glands removed and radiotherapy, but the disease has spread further.

The former Italian translator, interpreter and teacher also lost her husband to cancer 27 years ago, and her son four years ago. She is currently awaiting test results.

Speaking about the hospice, she said: “There’s so much care and love and empathy from the staff at the hospice that you won’t find anywhere else.

“The staff are not just nurses and carers. They really do care in the most genuine sense of the word.

“It’s also the events that they put on for us – like the pantomime. It is of no benefit to the staff, but is of great benefit to us. Each session gives you a few hours to forget about your illness.

Each week Maddalena also relaxes while going for a massage and physio during her weekly visit to the hospice.

She said: “The hospice is somewhere that’s good for all of us. You can’t turn the clock back. We all have to cope the best we can. The hospice stopped me going into a black hole.

“I’m not afraid of dying, because I know I will be well cared for in the hospice when the time comes.”