Carrie is a member of our choir and a volunteer in our Day Services team. Her partner Allan is currently receiving care from Martlets
“Allan had radiotherapy at the Royal Sussex and while I was waiting for him I saw a poster on the wall about the choir at Martlets. I love to sing and I thought I’ll go and try it and our connection with Martlets really escalated from there. The choir is a really important part of my life and the people in the choir have really made such a difference to me; they’re all volunteers or people connected to Martlets in some way.
Allan came under Martlets’ care because of his prostate. We thought, probably like a lot of people, that Martlets was where you come to die, but although the people that come here have got illnesses, this is not the end. Actually, you come here to live to the full – to live out the rest of your life and make the best of it.
We have to get the message out that although the people that come here have got illnesses, this is not the end, this is about living the best way you can while you can. Whenever you say ‘hospice’ people think its means the end of life when Martlets is about living.
Allan is quite shy, but when I started to come to the coffee mornings Allan came with me. When I’m not around someone will come and pick him up and he’s happy to come on his own now – he feels comfortable here. Sometimes we do activities at coffee mornings – painting, Christmas wreath-making and so on. Allan even did flower arranging which he thought he’d hate, but he actually really enjoyed.
We’re always at Martlets doing something; it’s become a big part of our lives and it feels like one big family. When you come in there’s always somebody that recognises you and speaks to you and it feels so welcoming. If you’re a carer or partner I’d say come in and access the services because it’s great for both of you.
I’ve had shiatsu and really enjoyed it and Allan’s had acupuncture and found it quite relaxing. Allan also had a counselling session with Patrick which was really useful.
Friends and fundraising
For patients and carers, Martlets gives them a lifeline and anyone fundraising no matter how small the amount, please know that it makes a massive difference and funds so many services. Coming here has been like a new awakening for me, the people here are so special. I can’t imagine my life without them now, I think I’ve made lifelong friends.
As well as coming in to Martlets, the girls here are going to the spa together next week and we’ve been on trips to Rome and Barcelona. In the last few years I’ve met some of the best friends I’ll ever have, some absolutely splendid people.”