Heather's Story

Shared by Heather’s husband, Sam.

My darling wife, Heather, was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour in September 2018. Despite two and a half years of intensive radio and chemotherapy, including trialling an experimental chemotherapy, we were informed in November 2020 that the tumour had quickly progressed. Devastatingly, it would likely mean that the coming months would be Heather’s last.

It was at this point that we were introduced to the team at Sobell House, including Ali, a community nurse, and Neale, an occupational therapist, who would be looking after us both.

The magnificent care we received was truly remarkable, particularly given the added difficulties of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Being in the vulnerable position that she was, Heather wasn’t able to leave the house much during this time, and was desperate to feel normal again after everything she had gone through. Ali and Neale were always on hand to offer support and advice and helped her to come to terms with what was happening.

Pictured: Heather on her wedding day

We had originally planned to get married in June 2020, but had to postpone due to the pandemic. After we’d been given the news of Heather’s likely prognosis, we decided to go ahead with our wedding day at fairly short notice and get married on 7 December. Upon hearing this, Ali and Neale sprang into action and helped us to make the most of our special day. One of the crueller side effects of Heather’s condition was that the tumour affected her motor functions, and by December she was finding it difficult to walk or even stand. To our astonishment, the local fire brigade was enlisted to help transport Heather from our flat to our car so that we could go ahead with the day she had been dreaming about. Needless to say, the addition of five hunky firemen was also appreciated by some of our other guests! Despite Heather’s condition, the wedding day went better than we could have possibly imagined under the circumstances. The fact that Sobell House were able to make this happen for us is something that I will forever be thankful for.

After Christmas, Heather’s condition worsened dramatically. It was agreed that it was best for Heather to remain at home in her final days, given the restrictions that were in place at the time. Ali and Neale again made this difficult time easier for us by transforming our bedroom into our own little hospice. Hospital beds, chairs and all manner of equipment was shipped in, in order to make Heather’s final days as comfortable as possible. Heather passed away on 12 February 2021. She was only 33 years old.

One thing we all hope for is to have a long and happy life. Unfortunately, Heather wasn’t afforded this luxury, but the tireless efforts of all at Sobell House were able to give her the next best thing: a good death. I’m sure this is something we would all wish for our loved ones. I will never be able to express how truly thankful I am for that.

Thank you so much to Sam for kindly sharing her family’s experience of Sobell House.

If your loved one was cared for by our team and you would be comfortable to share your story with our supporters, please fill out our story form.