Tanya Ellett, aged 40, from Angmering, decided to jump out of her comfort zone and take on a skydive in memory of her mother, Ann Fowler, and the incredible care both of her parents have received from St Barnabas House.
Since taking on the challenge in September 2018, Tanya has raised over £1,800 for the hospice. She described the exhilarating experience as “a once in a lifetime opportunity and a chance to give something back to St Barnabas”.
In October 2017, Tanya and her family received the distressing news that her mother’s lung condition, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), had deteriorated and Ann was referred to the hospice having been told she only had a few months to live. Tanya and her family were able to share a special Christmas and New Year together at home, but sadly in January 2018 Ann was rushed to hospital with pneumonia.
Tanya said: “We got Mum home from hospital after nine days, equipped with a nursing bed, oxygen machine, nebuliser, you name it. That’s when St Barnabas and the district nurses stepped in. They came to visit Mum at home with a view to her possibly going in to the hospice and offered so much help and support to us as a family as we were caring for mum at home ourselves. The Hospice at Home Team were amazing! Mum never recovered from the pneumonia and never made it to the hospice. Eleven days after leaving hospital Mum sadly passed away on 29 January 2018.”
Three months after her mother’s death, Tanya’s father, Paul Fowler, received the devastating news that the treatment he had been undergoing for stage 3 rectal cancer – at the same time as Tanya’s mother’s illness – had been unsuccessful and the cancer was now terminal. Paul, aged 62, from Ferring, was referred to St Barnabas in May 2018 where he has been receiving a range of specialist care including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, help with pain management and symptom control.
Tanya said: “Since Mum passed away and Dad’s referral, St Barnabas have been such a support to Dad and to us as a family. They have given us bereavement support for Mum and we also attended a remembrance service which was so personalised it completely blew us away.
“The hospice has put so many things in place for Dad, arranging physiotherapist visits, introducing new medications to help with pain management and arranging occupational therapy visits to help Dad live at home as comfortably as possible for as long as he can before needing to go in to the hospice. All of the amazing support given to us has been given at no cost to us whatsoever.”
If you have been inspired by Tanya’s story there are still places available to take part in a group skydive for St Barnabas House on Saturday 4 May 2019.
Visit www.stbh.org.uk/skydive to find out more or give one of the Events Team a call on 01903 706355 if you would like to discuss jumping for the hospice on one of the many other dates throughout the year.