Support us this Christmas

Geoff and Janette Sjogren Story

“In 2016 I was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND). Little did I know how dreadful this disease would become and the devastating effects the diagnosis would have on my family.”

Until then we had a fairly normal life we moved to Chichester from Bristol in 1989. I still remember the drive to my interview at St Richard’s; the A27 concrete road was so loud that I had to stop, thinking I had a flat tyre! The post I was applying for was Deputy Manager in Sterile Services, where all the Hospital’s surgical instruments are decontaminated. I was delighted to get the job. With my wife Janette and our children - Tyne, Ross, Stuart and David, we settled in the area, eventually finding our perfect home in the lovely town of Selsey.

Please help St Wilfrid's be here for patients and their families this Christmas. 

The Hospice is a special place which provides so much for patients who have a range of difficult conditions. They support patients and their families so that everyone can experience love and laughter at a difficult time.

My career has been long and happy. I’ve worked with amazing teams that have helped St Richard’s achieve Outstanding status. I’ve been involved in national policy work and gained a Doctorate. I’ve made great friends, and Janette and I have restored a beautiful arts and crafts home and welcomed the arrival of our wonderful grandchildren.

But things changed dramatically after my diagnosis with MND.

For a while I had a general feeling of tiredness and an increasing weakness in my arms and legs. After several medical tests, I was given the bad news.

My first specialist nurse provided symptom control and with an Occupational Therapist, helped us adapt the house. Very quickly a care network of health professionals and specialists begins to surround you. As my symptoms have progressed, I now have an amazing complex care team at home 24/7.  I hope that the things learned from my care will help other MND patients and those requiring respiratory care.

It was in 2018 that my medical team suggested we should include St Wilfrid’s Hospice in my care plan. The Hospice Consultant, Dr Whitehouse, came to meet us at home. A special trial of medication was organised with the help of the Community Clinical Lead nurse and Dr. Whitehouse, which helped ease my symptoms.

When the new Hospice opened, we were invited for a visit and tour. We now attend the Living Well Centre on a monthly basis and it offers so much more than just medical care for patients. Janette meets with Ali the Clinical Nurse Specialist for a catch up, joins a relaxation group and Pilates sessions. We all meet for a medical review and to discuss any problems we’re having. I can go to the coffee lounge with my support team and spend time with the wonderful volunteers.

The Living Well Centre aims to enrich the lives of patients, families and carers and it certainly does so for us. The specialist team offers emotional, physical and practical support with a range of activities such as art sessions or massage. Patients are able to drop in for a social visit or just to relax. The team makes you feel supported. If you need advice or help following a difficult diagnosis they’ll be there for you. They will even visit you at home if easier. We know that as my MND symptoms progress, Janette and I will continue to depend on the specialist teams at St Wilfrid’s.

The Hospice is a special place which provides so much for patients who have a range of difficult conditions. They support patients and their families so that everyone can experience love and laughter at a difficult time.

Christmas can be a time of mixed emotions and that will certainly be the case for us this year. But with the support of St Wilfrid’s, we’ll get to spend quality time together as a family. The Hospice will care for many families this holiday season providing the support they need and deserve.

Are you able to help St Wilfrid’s care for other families like ours, with a gift today? Your support will mean St Wilfrid’s can continue to help patients and their families make the most of life.

Kind Regards

Geoff and Janette Sjogren