Telephone: 01223 675777
Contact us   Reception 01223 675777  In-Patient Enquiries 01223 675900  Fundraising Office 01223 675888   
Homepage  |   Shop Online  |       |  

Moments shared

Patients, family and supporters share their experiences of our care and their support


Bernie & Sasha Baldock

12 May 2014

Bernie Baldock is a regular visitor and avid supporter of the charity, and along with her daughter Sasha, wanted to share their memories of the fabulous care Alan received at the hospice. Bernie started by saying that Alan was Cambridge born and bred; he was a heating engineer for the whole of his working life. "We met in the Chequers pub when I was 16 and were married in May 1983. We have 3 children, Daniel, Dominic and Sasha."

Alan was first poorly in January 2012 and at first it was thought that he had a chest infection. When his symptoms didn’t seem to get better various other illnesses were suggested, angina, gallstones, muscular strains and lots of different painkillers were prescribed.

In May that year Alan had an appointment at the cardiac clinic at Addenbrookes and after many tests and a chat with the consultant about the nature of his work it was suggested Alan had a scan of his chest. The scan was inconclusive and an appointment at Papworth Hospital was arranged. From this appointment biopsies were carried out and on August 6th we received the devastating news that Alan had Mesothelioma which is a cancer of the membrane around the lungs and is caused by exposure to asbestos. He was given 5-6 months as Mesothelioma isn’t curable and Alan was offered various options to try and keep the pain under control.

From this time we had many appointments at Addenbrookes, Papworth and our GP, it seemed every time we went Alan’s medication was increased as the pain got worse. We attended pain clinic specialist appointments at Arthur Rank Hospice and this was the start of our association with the hospice.

On Tuesday 23rd October Alan was admitted to the inpatient unit at Arthur Rank Hospice to monitor his pain and try to get it under control. Alan seemed to settle well and we think he felt safe here as there was always somebody to make sure he was comfortable and as free from pain as possible under the circumstances, he liked having his own room and a glass of wine with his meal if he wanted! Sasha said "He also liked the Taste the Difference desserts and watching Top Gear and Man v Food on his TV". He had plenty of family and friends visiting him during the day and no restrictions on visiting hours enabled us all to spend as much time as we could with Alan

Alan came home for the afternoon on the Sunday but by teatime he was ready to go back to the hospice.  On Wednesday 31st October Sasha and I took Alan his newspaper and he said he’d had a fall earlier that morning and when I spoke to a nurse she seemed to think his blood pressure had fallen and they were keeping an eye on him. He had two more falls that day and when I visited in the evening he said the nurses had caught him trying to escape to the pub! I thought that it was the medication talking. I left Alan at about 8.30 that evening when he was settled for the night.

At 3am the following morning I received a call from the nursing staff saying Alan had deteriorated and they advised us to come to the hospice. When we arrived Alan was very agitated and it took till almost lunchtime for the medication to calm him down enough to enable him to sleep. The doctor on duty said they didn’t expect Alan to last the day and so various family and friends came to say their goodbyes. Alan fought and fought and the staff told us we could use the family room as there were so many of us there. This was such a great help to us as it meant we had such a strong network of support close at hand. Sasha said "The nurses brought us pillows and duvets and showed us how to put the sofa beds up" The staff even suggested bringing our dog, Marley as Alan had spoken to them about him. The family, Marley included, set up camp in the family room and even took over the visitors’ kitchen. At one point we had slow cookers and washing machines on the go!

Marley was even allowed in Alan’s room and he would check on Alan at various times of the day by putting his paw on Alan’s bed. I did worry about the amount of visitors and asked the staff if I should send some of them home and was told a most definite "NO". This was very important to me as it meant I could spend all my time with Alan knowing the children were being cared for and supported by the hospice team.

Even when Alan wasn’t conscious the nurses treated him with great care and dignity, we just couldn’t fault their care. Alan passed away at 9.45am on Monday November 5th and the staff continued to offer their support to us.

People say how wonderful the hospice is but I can honestly say, until you experience it you can’t begin to appreciate just how amazing the people working here are

When I heard of the plans for the new hospice I was a little sad as we have lots of memories of Alan’s short stay there but it looks like being a fabulous place for patients and that has to come first. The level of care can’t get any better though! Sasha said "It can’t be a bad thing as you had to run round just to get wet in the old shower!"

This is why we are both great supporters of the charity, selling Christmas Cards and taking part in the Star Shine Stroll. Sasha and my niece Chelsie organised a fundraiser in Alan’s memory and raised £3220! Sasha said "I was inspired by the care my Dad received and the Hospice deserves every penny we raise"

Bernie is also keen to become a volunteer and when the second anniversary of Alan’s death has passed she will be able to sign up to support the hospice and enable other families to experience all the special things which her family appreciated. Other members of her family have dreams to work for the hospice in the future to uphold the fantastic and compassionate care offered to Alan.

To help raise these vital funds for the new hospice, Tee’m Al II are again taking part in the Star Shine Stroll. we have set up JustGiving page. Any amount is appreciated.




Xanthe's story
Michael's story
Angela's story
One of the oldest surviving veterans of World War II tells his story after being cared for at Arthur Rank Hospice
Kirsty's story
Jennifer's story
Claire's Story
Sally's Story
Catherine's story
Brenda & Stuart Evans reflect on Bridge the Gap