Amy, James’ sister, was born in 1984. She was born severely disabled and wasn’t expected to live past the age of two, but miraculously she did. She was fairly mobile and had a reasonably good memory but was always disabled.

About 7 ½ years ago she developed the rarest of thyroid cancer and Cushing's syndrome at the same time. There had only been six cases of the two together in the world and doctors didn’t know which had developed first. Doctors were able to treat the cancer but there was no cure. They said it would come back and twelve months later it did.

The tumours spread to her heart, lungs, liver and thyroid bed. In September 2017 tumours started to grow again. They decided to stop the drugs and tumours grew rapidly in size over 3 months. Amy was offered a clinical trial but due to her disabilities she was unable to consent and couldn’t take part. 

Another drug was suggested but was only available on compassionate grounds on the NHS. James considered fundraising but it cost £10,000 a month which wasn’t sustainable so they had to wait for the NHS to reach a decision. By this time she was very poorly and could barely get out of bed. As soon as they came in James went to get the drugs. The day they got the drugs James and his wife told her that they were expecting a baby which picked her up as she was very down by that stage.

Even with the drug, the chance of it working was 50/50. The drugs started to work but then she had a ruptured bowel which was a side effect of the cancer. This knocked her even further back and she was incredibly frail.

At the end of February she was rushed back into hospital with multiple ruptures again. The doctors said at that point that she would only survive the week. On top of that, she then developed a chest infection. Miraculously, she fought the infection and the ruptures healed.

By this point, Amy’s quality of life was so poor they made the incredibly difficult decision to withdraw her treatments. James started researching local hospices on the internet and found The Norfolk Hospice. Fortunately a bed was available and she was quickly moved from hospital to the Hospice.

James and his wife brought her all of her creature comforts, her teddies and blankets and dressed her room up. They brought her own clothes for her to wear which was so much better for her than the hospital gowns she had been wearing.

Seeing her at the Hospice, it was just like seeing her in heaven.

The nurses were wonderful, they did everything she wanted, they wheeled her bed to the tv in the middle of the night so she could watch tv, they ordered Chinese takeaway for her; chicken chow mein was her favourite. The nurses would sing and dance in her room and plait her hair with bows.  She enjoyed the surroundings, watching the pheasants running past the window, being able to see the trees.

They were so welcoming to James too, he was able to stay overnight with her, eat in the café and relax in the family room.  There were always cakes which people had made and tea and coffee to hand.

A week or so before she died, the nurses wheeled her bed out and took her down to the pond; unfortunately, James missed it because of the traffic getting to the Hospice.

After this, they thought she was hallucinating as she kept asking to go to her old room down the stairs. She had only been in one room at the Hospice and there aren’t any stairs.

The day before she died they asked if she wanted to go to the pond again. The nurses took her back to the pond, this time accompanied by James. It was an amazing experience. James and the nurses realised that the feeling of going over the decking in her bed would have felt like stairs to her.

She died the next day at around 3am. After Amy died, the staff were very supportive and allowed him to sit with Amy until the undertakers came.

Since Amy’s death, James and his wife, who have since had their baby, have been actively supporting the Hospice.

He said,

There is no amount of fundraising which could make up for what they did for my sister