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When Steph Boyman was told specialist treatment for her cancer had been unsuccessful, she made the decision to live her final days at home, making memories with family and close friends and living life to the full.
With the ‘incredible’ care and support of Ashgate Hospice’s community team, her husband, Matthew, was able to fulfil Steph’s wishes before she died peacefully at home in November 2021, aged 53.
Matthew, who was married to Steph for 20 years, says he would have been ‘lost’ without Ashgate by his side.
The hospice’s Palliative Care Specialist Nurses and Support Workers were there to offer vital practical and emotional support to ensure his wife was comfortable in the final days before her death.
Matthew, from Staveley, said: “Without the care and support from Ashgate Hospice there would have been no choice but for us to admit Steph to hospital, which would have been against her final wishes of dying at home.
“After being diagnosed two years ago, her treatment dictated most of her life, so it was important for her to be able to spend her last months at home with family and friends.
“My Steph loved life more than anyone I have met; she loved to dance and was always laughing. I miss her dearly and she is always on my mind.
“I’m just grateful for Ashgate’s nurses and support workers for everything they did for her and for me too. Each and every one of them was absolutely amazing.”
Steph was originally told that there was a 50 per cent chance of recovering from her condition, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, when she was diagnosed in January 2020.
After the prognosis that all three treatments had failed, Steph refused palliative chemotherapy – which would have given her more time but impacted her quality of life – and spent her final months at home.
Matthew, aged 48, who works as an HGV driver says the support of Ashgate’s team helped guide him through the final days.
He added: “Ashgate showed us the possibility of fulfilling Steph’s wishes to remain at home.
“With the help of Libby, Pam, Lisa and others they encouraged and supported me whenever I was in doubt. I was completely out of my comfort zone but without their help I would have been lost.
“Ashgate’s support was priceless in the last week as Steph was bed-bound and unable to speak for herself. Soon eating or drinking proved impossible as her organs began shutting down, so having Ashgate’s nurses there to help me was so important.
“The love and care of Ashgate gave us time to spend together during her last days, as family and friends came to visit to say goodbye.
“And thanks to them, Steph was able to pass away peacefully and pain-free in her sleep six weeks after she had received her final diagnosis.
“Volunteering at Ashgate will ultimately mean the hospice can be there for other people who need its vital care in the future like it was for my Steph at the end of her life.”
Anyone who is interested in volunteering can go to ashgatehospice.org.uk/volunteering and fill in the Volunteer Enquiry Form.
Alternatively, pop into your local shop and ask to speak to the shop manager about volunteering. You can find your nearest shop below.