An Inspirational Tour Around St Giles Hospice

We had a client meeting with a bit of a difference recently…

Not often do we get the chance in our working day to visit a place as wonderful as St Giles Hospice, but for four members of the Webb Associates team who work closely with our clients there – Amy, Shannon, Sian and Claire – they were very lucky to receive an eye-opening tour at the hospice in Whittington near Lichfield, to learn more about the amazing work they do.

The day started with the team meeting Helen Young, nurse consultant and manager of the Lymphoedema Clinic. She explained about the pioneering work that has been undertaken by the charity to offer free help with managing the symptoms of hereditary and secondary Lymphoedema, so that patients can live their lives to the full.

It was here our team learnt that St Giles Hospice was one of the first clinics in the UK to treat children with the condition – and now more than 1,800 patients in the catchment area receive care at St Giles.

After this, the group met with Katie Burbidge, Director of Clinical Care, and Helen Reeves, Clinical Lead for Community Palliative Care. They talked about the running of the Compassus Centre at the hospice – which is named after the Latin word meaning ‘a deep awareness of other people’s suffering coupled with the wish to relieve it’.

It is this part of the hospice which cares for terminally-ill patients, but also for patients who need help with rehabilitation and respite so they can be discharged and go home.

Katie and Helen walked us around this state-of-the-art care centre and, despite it being a place for end-of-life care, it was nothing like a hospital. The private rooms and the beautiful communal terrace and gardens made it feel like an uplifting place to be, while the designated room for family members to spend the night makes it feel more welcoming for everyone.

The next part of the visit introduced the team to a completely different aspect of the hospice, when they met Community Engagement Officer Ian Leech. Here our team learnt about how the charity helps those suffering the loss of a loved one, as death doesn’t just affect one person – it impacts on the lives of their family and friends.

The hospice offers a support service at their Bereavement Help Points across the catchment area, and has also set up Phoenix at St Giles, which offers support to young people suffering bereavement.

Another important task of the Community Engagement Team is to get people thinking and talking more openly about death. This was tested on our team when Ian asked what their funeral song would be and what they want to be remembered for. It is the work of Ian and his team which also raises awareness, with their participation in national campaigns such as Dying Matters Week.

The final instalment of the visit was meeting the Day Hospice Manager, Jayne Tooth. She showed us all of the wonderful things that the hospice does to care for its day patients who need care and support, but not full-time treatment.

This part of the tour talked us through the help that is available to patients who visit the hospice on a weekly basis and how the hospice provides additional medical support and gives carers some respite.

The tour made us even more proud to be working with St Giles Hospice and helped us realise how much the charity touches people’s lives. The visit was a wonderful opportunity to learn about the work our client does by witnessing it first-hand in their very own environment.

Thanks to everyone at St Giles for having us!

Outstanding Abby runs the London Marathon!

img_2120The WA office recently celebrated the buzz surrounding the super exciting London Marathon on Sunday 24th April, only this year there was something even more special to look out for – our account manager Abby was running it!

Abby has an inspiring story behind taking part in the gruelling challenge, as she wanted to run in memory of her cousin Liberty Baker, who sadly died on her way to school in 2014 at the hands of a dangerous driver. So Abby decided to don her running shoes and use this opportunity to raise money for national road safety charity Brake.

After enduring a 16-week training programme which involved running four times every week, as well as organising loads of fundraisers and yummy cake sales (which everyone in the office was very grateful for!), Abby’s big day arrived and she was at the starting line ready to take on her challenge! Here’s her story in her own words…

“The night before the marathon I slept surprisingly well at the hotel, considering I wasn’t in my own bed and I was very nervous before going to sleep! I couldn’t finish my bagel that morning, and as I travelled on the tube from Kennington where I was staying it was such a surreal experience knowing that the day I’d been building up to was finally here.

“When I arrived the atmosphere and buzz of so many runners in one place was really exciting and I quickly started to relax and enjoy the experience. I then met up with my friend Natalie, who was also running for Liberty, and had a chat and some photos taken with two other people running for Brake. I then made my way to my start line at the red start in zone 8.

“The buzz continued and the 10-second countdown quickly came, although it took around 22 minutes from that point to reach the start line.

“When I began the crowds were lined up cheering everyone, which was really motivational, and I happily plodded along with the crowds, enjoying everything that was going on around me.

“I reached 10k at 1:07:24 at an average pace, just before Cutty Sark. The atmosphere really picked up with so many people there to cheer the runners on. At this point the main running crowds had started to disperse as everybody found their pace and the spectators started to notice names.

“It was quite bizarre at first hearing your name chanted but it was a definite spur on! It was quite early on at around 9 miles when I started to feel the struggle and my hamstring felt tight. I slowed down and found out that my boyfriend, his sister and her boyfriend were at the 17k point. I continued and found them cheering and holding up signs which gave me a push to run for a while longer.

“I slowed down to walking pace just after mile 11 and realised so many people want to be here, so I was going to smile my way around and enjoy it no matter how long it took.

“Mile 20 was the point which I really started to feel a sense of achievement, so I ran and walked the next few miles and eventually the 25 mile mark appeared – then when I hit the 200 metre point the finish line was in sight! With all of the energy I had left, I made it. The medal went around my neck and I shed a tear of joy.

“I’d done it. Five hours, 39 minutes and 3 seconds later I finally stopped moving and enjoyed the moment. I was asked afterwards if I’d do it again and my straightaway answer was YES!

“When I was offered my place in the marathon last year, running 5k in one go was a challenge. I can now say that I’ve completed a marathon which in less than a year of training is such an achievement. The experience has been full of highs and lows and it’s been incredibly tough at times – I’ve sacrificed nights out for nights in and takeaways for pasta, but I’ve pushed through to the end.

“The journey has been amazing and one I’ll never forget. I’m now going to enjoy some time off, lots of wine and food!”

Abby’s hard work and true dedication has raised an amazing £3,535.80 so far for Brake! So from the entire WA team – well done Abby!

If anybody would like to donate to Abby’s cause then her JustGiving page is still live – www.justgiving.com/Abby-Davies-VLM16.

All of that running must have hurt more than her legs though, as she’s even entered the ballot to take part again next year!