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Mark Allen decided to walk the 90 mile Hadrian’s Wall Virtual Challenge to raise money for the hospice in memory of his Dad, Jim after our Hospice@home team “gave him back his dignity at the time when he needed it most”

Jim in bed

Jim at home

Michael James Allen, better known as Jim, was diagnosed with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) in 2017 and was reliant on oxygen permanently to enable him to breathe. Jim had also had pre-existing diagnosis of Spinal Stenosis and Bipolar disorder back in 2015.

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Jim's daughter-in-law Julie re-landscaping his fishpond so his train set would run round it

Mark begins his story in August 2017 when Jim was receiving home visits and support from Age Concern the Rocket Team. “My dad’s health really started to decline in early August of 2017, he became bedbound and had to have a catheter fitted. He had been on oxygen therapy for some time by this point and had been in hospital off and on for the year prior to his passing with bouts of Pneumonia. Once it was clear that he was on the final part of his journey the Hospice at home team became involved and were a massive support to him, my mum and indeed all of the family for the last few weeks of his life.

"Nurses from the Hospice@home team would sit with Dad overnight or if my Mum needed to go out anywhere and also took her to the pharmacy to collect medications for Dad that he desperately needed for the pain he was in."

"The Hospice@home care team treated my Dad with dignity and care, they gave him back his humanity in what was for him, always a proud man, a time when he was feeling humiliated by his failing body. I witnessed nurses putting him at ease when he was anxious, calming him, holding his hand, talking to him and telling him not to worry or stress, that we his family, were there… even when he was heavily sedated by the morphine for his pain relief. The nurses were just as patient with us, always caring and understanding, always taking time to talk to us and letting us know how they thought my Dad was doing, right until the end."

Mark also recalls fondly how personalised the care was to Jim and his entire family. Both during his illness and after he had passed away: “There was a lovely nurse who was at my Mum and Dad’s home when my Dad passed. She made sure that my Mum and my youngest brother, who lived in the home with my Dad, were there with him when he took his last breath. She also ensured that they were OK until the rest of the family arrived and spoke kindly to us all before leaving us.

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Jim with his three sons, Matt, Mark and Andrew at Matt's wedding

“After my Dad had passed my Mum had a visit from a member of the hospice team to follow up after my Dad’s death and ensure that my family were coping as well as could be expected after his loss. The younger grandchildren were all given memory boxes. I remember how very kind the team was, showing a lot of compassion and empathy with us all during a very difficult time. My Dad’s passing was not an easy thing to witness but the support we had from the hospice at home team really helped a lot.

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Jim with his wife Doreen

“Cynthia Spencer gave my Dad back his dignity at the time when he needed it most, the care, support and personal touches they bought to his care and the continued wellbeing of our family during and after his death were incredible.” Mark concluded.

To show his gratitude for the care Jim received, Mark began a 90 mile virtual challenge in February to walk the length of Hadrian’s Wall using the app based Conqueror Virtual Challenge technology to track every mile.  Doing his bit for the environment too, this challenge donates towards the planting of a tree for every 20% of his challenge Mark completes. If you can support his fundraising please visit his JustGiving page here

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