“Incredible People” “Extra Special” “Extraordinary what they do” “Above and Beyond” is how Neil Moffatt describes the team at Willowbrook, here in his own words is Neil’s story.
“Nobody would have put me and Jonathan together, on paper we were an odd match. Jonathan, a Vicar and myself, a non-believer, were together for 18 beautiful years. We had a magical life, we were very sociable, and lived life to the full. Our life was full of love and shared common values that enhanced our relationship and enriched others around us.
We went to Costa Rica in April 2022 for my delayed 50th birthday celebration and new life adventure. We had an incredible holiday, when we returned, Jonathan felt unwell. This was when our world changed. It took a few months before he was diagnosed with cancer, and in August 2022, we were told Jonathan had sepsis, and was hospitalised. We were advised to make some decisions as the cancer would be taking over very fast.
We couldn’t make sense of it all, but, as we always did, we talked about it and decided we wouldn’t let this take over our life. We had a Can Do/ Will Do mindset, and we continued to laugh, make memories and because of this, nothing changed. Our love still remained strong.
We moved into our forever home, and I cared for him myself with support from the Nurse Specialist, Carol King, until November 2022, when his safety was compromised. He was very poorly, so Jonathan decided it was time for the Hospice, his request was that he would only go to Willowbrook, a charity he had chosen to support for many years before his diagnosis.
We were admitted to Willowbrook on the one condition – that I was to move in with him, and be with him 24/7. The staff made no hesitation in agreeing to this, they pulled out all the stops and put two beds together for us, I brought in some home comforts to make the room smell and feel familiar.
The entire team supported us so incredibly well, from housekeeping, to the chef, to the clinical team. Nothing was too much trouble for them. Being a same-sex couple made no difference to them, it did not affect their day to day work. It demonstrated the continuous evolution of the way they carry out their specialist care, they adapted the service to suit us; and our family/friends, without risking their duty to Jonathan.
Drs Kamilla and Kate were so wonderful, they looked after us both so well, and made sure I was cared for as well as Jonathan, they explained things as and when needed and kept the stimulation in his room low, with music playing (and even joining in with the meditative chants we would listen to).
Jonathan died 7 nights after he arrived, and what some people might assume would be a frightening experience, wasn’t. It was very unusually beautiful and only made possible because of the amazing team at Willowbrook, for taking all our requests.
After eight days, I walked out of the hospice on my own, with mixed feelings of sadness, loneliness and thoughts about how blown away I was with the team who I had become so close to.
We have a Superpower; Our Superpower is Love. This was our motto from the beginning through to the very end of our life journey together, and it is with my gratitude that Willowbrook allowed us to face this experience the way that we did.”
Incredible Fundraising Effort
This year, together with family and friends, Neil has raised an incredible £6,576.25 for Willowbrook Hospice following a trek up Scafell Pike and a Squash challenge lead by his Niece Nell.
Neil is very passionate about raising awareness and funds for Willowbrook Hospice following the care and compassion that he and Jonathan both received from our staff.
We are truly overwhelmed with this donation, and thankful to everyone who contributed.