Michael and Yvonne have been married for just over 22 years. Once a director in a financial printing company, Michael travelled extensively with his job, while Yvonne worked in London for one of the world’s largest merchant banks.
The couple are qualified spiritual healers and were running a church in Kent when Michael developed a serious infection. Yvonne’s concern grew as her husband became increasingly confused and, following a series of tests, doctors confirmed that Michael had a brain tumour.
The tumour was removed but it proved to be particularly aggressive and Michael was given six months to live. The news was devastating.
The couple were put in touch with Heart of Kent Hospice and it’s been a lifeline for them: “There is something very special about the Hospice. They greet you like they know you, even if they’ve never met you. It’s a very special place.”
Following the diagnosis, Michael and Yvonne’s lives were turned upside down and almost overnight, Yvonne became Michael’s carer: “The team at the Hospice have been amazing. It’s so hard dealing with things you never thought you’d have to deal with but they give you the reassurance that you’re not on your own. They understand what you’re going through and they treat you like individuals. They’re awe inspiring.”
Michael and Yvonne know they can call on the Hospice at any time of the day or night. The Hospice works closely with Maidstone Hospital, where Michael is being treated, and it keeps in touch with the couple’s daughter, Yvette, who lives in Germany. They’ve received advice and support from the Hospice on every aspect of Michael’s illness and Yvonne is currently looking into its counselling services and Outpatient activities at Magnolia Place.
Michael has such faith in Heart of Kent Hospice that he’s decided to go there when the time comes. But for both Michael and Yvonne, the Hospice has meant so much more than simply end-of-life care: “For some people the word Hospice is frightening - they think it’s where you go to die. But it’s not just for the end of your life, it’s for day-to-day living as well.”