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Mick's story


I’m 68 and I live in Hemsworth. I was diagnosed with cancer two years ago. It’s a frightening thing to be told. Cancer is a horrible word. When I was diagnosed, I actually thought, ‘That’s it. That’s the end of my world.’ They gave me some leaflets but I couldn’t take it in. You’re going through hell during treatment, and all that time you’re wondering if it’s working.

I had a rough patch after treatment for the cancer and prostate problems. I had very painful burns from laser treatment and radiotherapy. Someone at Age UK asked if I was interested in coming to the Day Therapy Unit at the Hospice, so I came to have a look.

There are all sorts of options here. The first day I came, they asked if I wanted to take part in an art session, but I ended up trying music therapy. I didn’t expect to be learning to play the drums at 68, but that’s what I’ve done! George, the Hospice’s music therapist, taught me to play. It’s a different context, it takes you into another world. George and I talk about lots of things when we’re in the music room playing the drums. He’s a brilliant fellow, he puts your mind at ease.

You also meet people in the same situation here. I’ve met a lot of new, very good friends. We’re all in the same boat and we help one another, that’s what it’s all about. If they ask, ‘How are you?’, they want to know. Cancer is a lonely place, but you don’t feel excluded here.

Coming here has given me a new outlook. I’ve even tried Reiki with the Hospice’s complementary therapist. I was a bit sceptical, but it actually works. She also gave me a tape which I put on at home. For years I’ve never felt relaxed, and it’s only since I’ve come here that I’ve learnt to relax.

The staff and volunteers at the Hospice are brilliant. They’ve seen and heard it all before, and they’re willing to listen – nothing’s too big a problem. I was nervous when I came here, I didn’t know what to expect, but I’ve really felt the benefits.

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