Arlesey Sponsor - Garden House Hospice

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 We are a local charity providing free, compassionate end of life care and support to patients and their families. Our services are available to people living in the communities of North Hertfordshire, Stevenage and surrounding towns and villages in Central Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

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We will gratefully accept donations of your preloved clothing and unwanted goods at any of our shops in North Hertfordshire and surrounding areas, and at our distribution centre in Letchworth. The following items can be accepted:Clothes (good quality men's, women's and childrenswear)Wedding dresses, bridesmaids outfits, evening and prom wearFootwear Belts, bags and clothing accessoriesBooksCDs, vinyl records, tapes (originals only)DVDs (originals only)Games consoles, controllers & accessoriesDuvets, pillows and bed linen (in sealed packing as sold)Toys & gamesAntiques, collectables and ornaments JewelleryWatchesClocksBric-a-bracSmall electrical items in working orderLaptops, tablets & Kindles (as long as they can be switched on)ArtworkOld Magazines / Photos / ProgrammesUnfortunately, there is also a list of items we cannot accept or sell for safety or legal reasons - please click the link to download this.
The Hospice costs £6.5 million a year to run, and we need to raise £9,700 every day to fund our services. It is a lot of money, but by raising funds, donating your time, skills or items, you will make a difference. Whatever your interests, background or abilities there is something you can do.Your support means specialist therapy. It means counselling for families. It means someone to call round the clock. It means that people living on streets and in towns near you, if diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, get the care they need and deserve. Thank you. Make a donation You can make a one off donation, give a regular gift, join the Local Hospice Lottery, consider leaving a gift in your will or donate items to our shops. The Hospice costs £6.5 million a year to run, and we need to raise £9,700 every day to fund our services. It is a lot of money, but by raising funds, donating your time, skills or items, you will make a difference. Whatever your interests, background or abilities there is something you can do.Your support means specialist therapy. It means counselling for families. It means someone to call round the clock. It means that people living on streets and in towns near you, if diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, get the care they need and deserve. Thank you. Make a donation You can make a one off donation, give a regular gift, join the Local Hospice Lottery, consider leaving a gift in your will or donate items to our shops. https://www.ghhospicecare.org.uk/supporting-us
Bharat, from Letchworth, has a lung condition called COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and respiratory failure. Six weeks ago, he couldn't get up and walk to a chair across the room, but told us that since he has been attending classes in our Rehab and Wellbeing services to help with symptoms such as breathlessness, he can now walk 700-800 steps a day."My front room looked like a hospital room, everything had to be close to me and I had to lean on my wife to walk," he said."The Hospice really is a fantastic place. My recent health scare knocked my confidence and it's had a huge physical and financial aspect on me, but nobody here says 'you can't do this'. It's never negative and there's so much positivity."When I was in hospital I was almost continuously on a nebuliser. When they let me out I was on some different inhalers, but fundamentally when doing small things such as standing up, I couldn't breathe. This was only a month ago. Since then I've attended these sessions at the Hospice and continued with these exercises and suddenly I started to feel I had control of my body. Breathing is a normal function, we do it automatically. But we also have control over our breathing and by controlling it, we can affect how our body works."Six weeks ago I couldn't get up and walk to a chair. Five weeks ago my front room looked like a hospital room, everything had to be close to me and I had to lean on my wife to walk. This morning it's been blisteringly hot and my smartwatch tells me I've done 700-800 steps."Today [at the Education and Exercise class on Breathlessness] we were learning relaxation techniques and knowing your pain. My own resting heart rate is 72-74 beats per minute. We did the relaxation techniques today and I was 62 beats per minute afterwards."When I first came here I was worried, not knowing what people were going to ask me to do. But everything is voluntary, and I would strongly encourage others to take part in these sessions."People aren't aware that they have a lot of knowledge in their heads. Sometimes it takes a place like this and people like those who work here to say: 'you aren't stupid - we understand what you're going through'. It's encouraging and lifts you. You can be right down there, but when somebody tells you in a non-condescending way then there's hope for better."It's the informality and welcoming nature of the team here that makes such a difference. This establishment has as much to do with a person's health as a hospital, but the moment you walk in and somebody talks to you, it's different. The formality becomes informal and you then lose the fear to do things and ask things you don't understand - and that's fantastic."Everything has been so positive."
Sheila was introduced to the Hospice after being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2021. Her husband Derek became quickly overwhelmed upon realising she would need continuous care, but the couple are now regulars at our Letchworth Community Hub, always attending with smiles on their faces."We never dreamed Sheila had Motor Neurone Disease," Derek began. "We just thought maybe she'd had a bad stroke.""The situation got on top of me and I started suffering from Nervous Exhaustion. The doctor recommended I get back in touch with the Hospice and I was encouraged to have counselling. Unfortunately, my generation is not normally open to it. But I have had the benefit of the other way of looking at things. Talking doesn't harm. It is strange for someone of my generation because we were brought up 'men don't cry'. But we had six sessions and I found it extremely good."Derek was also offered Reiki services through our Rehab and Wellbeing team. Whilst he received treatment, it was recommended Sheila attend our Community Hub at the same time. Despite losing her voice because of her illness, she can still communicate using a monitor with infrared rays. This allows her to type words with her eyes which she can then speak."It's very frustrating, because my mind is still in-tact," Sheila explained. "But I've made some very good friends. I love coming to the coffee morning; I cannot wait for Friday to come.""I'm now enjoying the coffee mornings with Sheila, very much so," Derek added. "That is the highlight of our week."The Hospice has provided an enlightenment to us. It's opened our eyes to the world is not as bad as what we thought."
Diane was a vibrant, shopping and car boot sale obsessed mother-of-two. At 62-years-old, she was diagnosed with stage 4 cervical cancer. Her family, including her older sister, Shirley, were devastated. Diane’s condition dramatically worsened within a short space of time and quickly, even with support from the Hospice at Home team, they needed more help."Diane's pain was so bad and they suggested she would benefit from being admitted to the Inpatient Unit," said Shirley. "But she - and we all - were petrified of her coming in."I think she was scared because it meant 'the end'. The nurses told us that once her pain was sorted she could come home, but actually, from the minute she got there, she seemed at peace. She didn't want to leave. She felt safe."Shirley said that it was the kindness of the staff that stood out to her. They made up beds so Diane's two sons could stay all night with their mum, and she said people were always asking if any of them wanted food or a drink. "They'd do everything possible for Diane, including doing her hair, and they looked after us all too. They couldn't have done more if they tried."During her stay, Diane's grandson turned three. They were going to have a party but they didn't want to go ahead without Diane. So instead, staff helped the family host the party at the Hospice."We all came, we had a birthday cake and the staff decorated the room with balloons. It was a lovely May day, so Diane was right by the doors in her bed, we pulled them back and the sun was shining in, we sung happy birthday together... it was such a special day."Shirley's beloved sister died on 9th June 2022."There are probably lots of families that are scared just like we were. But the Hospice isn't gloomy, like you may expect. It feels lovely, warm and cheerful. Diane found peace, and she wasn't scared any more."Following her sister's death, Shirley has been receiving counselling from our Family Support team."I found it very difficult losing Diane," she said. "But with Nadine I was able to vent and get everything off my chest without feeling I was burdening my family with these feelings. They really helped me process Diane's death and gave me the strength to now come to the Hospice as a volunteer."Last year, Shirley attended her first Lights of Life service with her children and nephews."The service was lovely - you feel a real warmth being around so many people in a similar position to you, all there to remember someone. We all wrote messages on the stars, and it felt like we were doing something to celebrate Diane's life, as well as saying thank you to the people there for what they've done and giving money to a cause that wouldn't survive without donations. It's something we will continue to do as a family."
John began suffering with depression and anxiety after being diagnosed with two cancers and Giant Cell Arteritis in a short space of time. But a recommendation from his neighbour to self-refer to our Rehab and Wellbeing service changed everything, and now he feels "a million dollars better".John's diagnoses"About November/December 2020 I was diagnosed with bladder cancer that was all dealt with rather quickly because of its urgency. Some months later, now into 2021, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and that had to be acted on very quickly too. I had radiotherapy for six weeks after that and hormone injections to kill my testosterone."Then I got diagnosed with a thing called GCA (Giant Cell Arteritis) which is the temporal arteries, so I'm losing the sight in my right eye, and I also had to go on massive doses of steroids."All that going on just got me down and down and down and I realised, before I went to see a doctor, I was crying all the time and I couldn't be bothered. I felt like I wasn't a 'proper man' and I couldn't do what I wanted to do. No matter what anybody said, it just didn't have any effect."They got me on the 'happy pills' which sorted me out a little bit, but I found I was still pretty lethargic about everything mentally and physically."Discovering the Hospice and first impressions"I was born and bred in Letchworth and I've always known about the Hospice, but I didn't know about the Ernest Gardiner Centre until my neighbour who's got COPD said 'you can self-refer to this little gym'."And so I spoke to Jayne [in the Rehab and Wellbeing team] and exchanged conversations on the phone and I came up and I've been hooked ever since! I was pessimistic about it, but as soon as I walked through those doors, it just felt so tranquil up here. There were people walking about and it was busy, but it was just so peaceful. And slowly but surely, I knew that it was all going to get better."Rehab and Wellbeing services"I joined the six week introductory course and when that ran out, I did the strength and balance class because my legs were pretty weak. They were useless, really, and I couldn't balance. And then I joined the Tai Chi. I do that anyway, so Jayne was eager to get me to come along."Nobody here judges you; nobody expects anything from you. They just want to help you. The whole thing is just above and beyond from what I thought it would be. One day we were sitting outside doing our Tai Chi and the staff had gone to the effort to get all the tables and chairs out there because it was going to be a nice day when we could've easily done it inside."
Carol was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in November 2021 and received care on our Inpatient Unit from February 2022. She passed away in March that year, and her family decided to organise a charity ball in her memory on what would've been her 60th birthday, raising over £6,600.Carol's daughters Lianne, Danielle and Jasmine told us that their 'much-loved wife, mother and nanny' loved the care she received.Lianne said: "To quote her, 'it was like staying in a five star hotel!'"Mum said that If she wasn't here for her 60th birthday that we must throw a big party for her. Based on [her] wishes, we decided to organise a charity ball called 'Carol's Glitter Ball'."Over 185 guests enjoyed prosecco on arrival while listening to a string quartet. This was followed by a three-course meal and live music."Carol's Glitter Ball and our fundraising page together raised an amazing £6,653.34!"