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23 Aug 2019 Personal Stories

Daughter’s Piano Performance strikes a Chord at Kirkwood Hospice

Here at Kirkwood, we do everything we can to ensure that families can spend special moments with their loved ones and enjoy quality time together. For the Pukacz Family from Fixby, these special moments were created through music when daughter, Kasia, delivered some very special piano performances to her Mum and other patients receiving care on Kirkwood’s In-Patient Unit back in July.

57-year-old Teresa Pukacz from Fixby was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in the Summer of 2018, just before her daughter, Kasia's wedding.

Following her diagnosis, Teresa visited Kirkwood's Support & Therapy Centre for Complimentary Therapy sessions and Creative Art classes as a way to manage her symptoms.

At the start of July, Teresa's condition deteriorated and she was admitted to the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and shortly after to Kirkwood's In-Patient Unit, where her family were able to come together and create some very special memories together.

Following Teresa's admission to Kirkwood, the Pukacz family were overwhelmed by the support of the Hospice and the opportunities presented to make family life as normal as possible. From ordering pizza and Chinese takeaway on the day of Teresa’s admission, to eating ice cream and enjoying the beautiful Hospice gardens, Kirkwood became a "home from home" for the Pukacz family.

On the evening of her second day at Kirkwood, Teresa’s family, who she fondly named ‘The Magnificent Seven’, were able to arrange a party for Teresa at the Hospice; where her daughters Kasia, Koletka and Irenka organised a surprise for their Mum.​

Kasia said “Mum knows a lot of people, so we messaged everyone she knew and asked them to send us a photo or video of their best memories together.

“We were so overwhelmed with the amount of people who sent us their memories. We all sat round as a family and had a toast with Mum’s favourite champagne along with strawberries and nibbles and looked through everything that had been sent to us.”

'The Magnificent Seven' having a toast with Teresa's favourite champagne.

 

A keen lover of gardening herself, the gardens at Kirkwood also had a positive effect on Teresa during her stay at the Hospice.

Kasia said: “Mum loves gardening so much. We were so happy that she had a room with her own terrace so she could spend time outside in the fresh air while smelling the flowers around her. It’s perfect.

“At the weekend, we took her round the gardens in her wheelchair and she even planted her own seeds and a pink rose in the planters outside her room.

“Another day, the Complimentary Therapist came round to offer us all treatments, but Dad didn’t want to leave Mum’s side. Instead, the Therapist came into the room and gave Dad an Indian head Massage so he didn’t have to leave.

“People shouldn’t be daunted by the word Hospice; it really is amazingly homely here.”

Music. Is a big part of family life for the Pukaczs; Teresa has enjoyed listening to her daughter, Kasia, play the piano since she was a young girl. So when the Kirkwood team found a piano for them to play during their stay, the family were delighted.

Kasia said: “When Mum arrived at Kirkwood, we would wheel her through to the room where there was a piano and I would play for her.

Kasia’s music has now become popular with Kirkwood’s Nurses and other patients and their families too, with Kasia receiving special requests, which she hopes to come back and play in the future.

Kasia playing the piano for her Mum and family.

 

After Teresa’s condition began to deteriorate, she was unable to move from her room to hear Kasia play. The Kirkwood team arranged for the piano to be taken to Teresa’s room so she was still able to hear her daughter’s music.

“Mum hadn’t woken up in a while, so I decided to play one of her favourite pieces; ‘The Blue Danube Waltz’. She always loved to dance so she woke up swaying her knees to the music, and asked for a kiss from my Dad. Even though Mum wasn’t awake, I know she could hear.”

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