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27 Mar 2020 Personal Stories

“Kirkwood’s care was excellent, we felt safe the whole time”

In October 2019, Pauline Booth’s beloved Husband, John, spent his final days on Kirkwood’s In-Patient Unit. This year, Pauline and her family will be joining hundreds of walkers at Kirkwood’s Midnight Memory Walk to honour her Husband, and to ensure other families continue receiving the same quality of care that he did.

Pauline and John Booth of Longwood spent 17 wonderful years together, and tied the knot in June 2019, officially becoming Husband and Wife. The decision to take their vows came shortly after receiving some devastating news.

Only the month before, in May, 69-year-old John was diagnosed with cancer of the Oesophagus, which unfortunately could not be cured.

John was receiving regular care in his home by Kirkwood’s Community Nurse, Fiona Marshall, to help manage his pain and medication. However, the time came when John needed extra support as he began to struggle with the symptoms of his illness. In October 2019, John was admitted to Kirkwood’s In-Patient Unit.

Pauline said: “Caring for John at home was becoming too much. When he was admitted to the In-Patient Unit it took the pressure off us, we were able to relax and spend quality time together as a family, and as Husband and Wife.

Pauline and John

“John’s son Andrew, and Granddaughter Millie, were always by his side and visited John often. Millie was even able to push John around the Hospice gardens in his wheelchair. John really loved being outside and enjoyed taking in the beautiful gardens, whilst spending quality time with Millie.”

After spending 10 days on the In-Patient Unit, John sadly died on 31st October 2019 with Pauline and Andrew by his side.

Pauline said: “Millie had only just recently passed her driving test and had never driven on the motorway, but as soon as she heard the news about her Grandad, she drove straight to Kirkwood from Leeds to say goodbye.”

This year, to honour her dearest husband, Pauline and her family will be taking part in Kirkwood’s biggest event of the year – the Midnight Memory Walk.

Although this will be the third time that Pauline has taken part in the annual event, this will be the first without John walking by her side.

Pauline said: “We are all really looking forward to taking part in the walk this year. All of the family will be joining us to walk in John’s memory.

Pauline and John on holiday in June 2019

“Kirkwood’s care was excellent, we felt safe the whole time. Even after John died, the care didn’t stop there, you aren’t forgotten about. The Family Care Team contacted me to check on me, which was reassuring to know that the support is there if and when I need it.”

Although the date for the Midnight Memory Walk’s is yet to be rescheduled for 2020 due to the uncertainty and challenging times surrounding the Coronavirus, this hasn’t deterred Pauline and her family away from preparing to lace up and being ready at the start line.

“We will be taking part whenever and wherever the Midnight Memory Walk takes place. I want to give something back and make sure that other people who need support from Kirkwood can receive the same care that John did.”

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