Christine Chawner

I was referred to LOROS outpatients day therapy every Wednesday following an operation and nine months of treatment for a very serious spinal cord injury which was a result of long term side effects of having radiotherapy and chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s lymphoma at 19. This resulted in me becoming disabled.

Photograph of Christine

Initially l was apprehensive as l wondered what it would be like at LOROS but l wanted to go to give my husband Laurence a break from caring for me day after day. On my first visit he took me into the day room and l burst into tears because it felt just like it was my first day at school. I felt scared as l had realized the enormity of what was happening to me but when he left the staff gathered around to welcome me and re-assure me that l was going to be safe with them.

As the weeks went by l began to count the days until my next visit. I have enjoyed aromatherapy massage, had my nails painted, took part in quizzes and read the newspapers. I met LOROS patron Julia Bradbury the TV presenter and received pastoral care from Rev. Andrew as well as being cared for by the doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and volunteers.

I attended art and craft class and (with help) l have been encouraged to decorate a tray with paper butterflies, make a necklace and take up cross-stitch. My favourite place is the tiny shop where l purchase the LOROS raffle tickets and scratch cards to have my weekly flutter. I also purchased several beautifully hand knitted pram blankets, baby cardigans and bonnets for my two young relatives who are both expecting baby girls. Not at all what l had expected from a hospice.

Over the weeks l have slowly regained a sense of my own self-worth (both mentally and physically) because the staff have given me the much needed support, direction and motivation to enable me to deal with my life which has been massively changed forever by my serious disabilities. I feel so much more happy and contented and instead of just marking time l now know that no matter what the future holds for me l can look ahead to each and every day with renewed confidence and inner tranquillity.

In my opinion LOROS is a very, very special place, the building is so peaceful with a wonderful atmosphere and l would like to say thank you to all the staff and volunteers who are so understanding and caring. l count myself to have been extremely lucky to be given the opportunity to benefit from day therapy which has proved to be a new beginning for my husband and myself.