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Enid and John

As soon as my husband John was diagnosed as being terminally ill we made the joint decision that he would be cared for at home.

For a few months I was able to cope on my own but eventually, and reluctantly, I had to admit to myself that I needed help as I no longer had the physical strength to provide all the nursing required.

Wonderful carers came to help but quite swiftly his care needs escalated due to his decline. From the outset our GP made it clear that my well being also needed to be considered, particularly as only a few months prior to my husband's diagnosis I had finished treatment for double breast cancer. To enable me to have a short break away from the home our GP suggested Helen's Trust. She asked me what social activity for me had stopped once my husband was unable to be left alone. For about the previous five years I had enjoyed a few hours with my girlfriends every Thursday.

Helen's Trust enabled me to return to my friends. It was a lifeline for me but more importantly it helped my husband enormously. By then his only means of communication was by typing on an iPad. He had the carer's undivided attention for the hours she was there, something which I couldn't always give him as the myriad of jobs I needed to do frequently prevented that.

His face lit up each time the carer arrived and I know it was the highlight of his week. When I came home they would both show me something else they had discovered they could do for John to enable better communication on the iPad. He had many happy moments.

For many years we had supported fundraising events for Helen's Trust, never for one minute thinking they would be coming to OUR help at our time of need. Without doubt Helen's Trust gave both me and my husband in the last months of his life something to look forward to each week. They were our saviours.

By Enid Ellis

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