Just six months after the death of his mum Jackie, Jake Porter speaks openly and honestly about how the Hospice not only cared for his mum but supported him as well.

In February 2018 Jackie was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer. Jake recalls, “Mum received treatments to slow the cancer but it was too developed to cure.”

For the Porter family, 2018 was about spending time together and making memories. This included a trip to the London Eye in June for Jake’s 15th birthday “It was something mum wanted to do” he explains.

Having heard about hospices, Jake says, “It’s where people go for the obvious but I didn’t know much about them.” In the summer of 2018 he and Jackie had a tour of Heart of Kent Hospice with social worker, Lyndsay. He recalls, “I brushed it off. I was so close-minded, I thought it was an alright place but that mum would never come here!”

With the support of the Hospice Community Team, Jackie’s wish to be cared for at home was made possible. Jake remembers, “Mum wanted to be at home, but towards the end she was in so much pain Rapid Response were coming every three hours. I was worried that if we moved her we would cause her problems. When they said she could go to the Hospice, I wanted her to go.”

Before Jackie died, Jake started getting into trouble at school and being disrespectful to his teachers. Hospice social worker Lyndsay was supporting dad and Jackie, they asked her to see Jake. “At first I was very, ‘this isn’t going to help’ and I didn’t open up.”

Jake recalls that once Jackie was at the Hospice the staff looked after his mum really well and got her pain under control. “It was very relaxing when mum was there, they took the pressure off us and it was nice to spend time with her. They made us feel so comfortable and at home.”

Unfortunately Jackie’s health deteriorated in the October. By this time Jake realised that he was able to open up to Lyndsay and could tell her how he was feeling. As a result of his sessions it was agreed that Jake would take a break from school and Lyndsay helped with suggestions of how school and family could support Jake. Of his sessions Jake says, “She is very caring and kind. She made me feel comfortable talking to her.”

Jackie sadly died at the Hospice on 3 December 2018 but support for the family didn’t stop there.

Jake had a total of six sessions with Lyndsay and she recalls, “He has come so far, I’m so proud of him. He has been honest and receptive to the strategies we introduced to help him cope with his emotions.” When he returned to school Jake put the strategies he had learnt into practice which resulted in a much more positive approach to learning and no detentions!

Just six months on and halfway through his GCSEs Jake is thankful for the support he received from the Hospice. To anyone who isn’t sure or doesn’t think it will help them he says, “Don’t brush it off. Be open-minded, give it a go and see what happens. I wouldn’t be where I am today without it and the support of my family.”

“The Hospice staff are very focussed on everybody, they’re so kind and caring”

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