18th January 2023

Hayley and Andy’s story

Andy and Hayley take a selfie during a sunset. Hayley holds a cocktail.

“Hayley outlived her prognosis and I do believe that was down a lot to her hospice nurse Sue, and the amazing support we had around us.”

These powerful words are from Andy Woodward, whose wife Hayley was cared for by St Richard’s before she died last October aged 33 years young.

Hayley lived with breast cancer and, since 2018, had been supported by our Secondary Breast Cancer Nurse Sue Sharp.

Employed by St Richard’s, Sue attends clinics at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

She helps patients through the complex journey of treatment, and the emotions that go with it.

Sue was there for Hayley: from attending oncology appointments with her, to liaising with her GP, and ensuring she had the right support at the right time.

She also offered the couple reassurance in uncertain times by helping to answer their questions.

Andy, who lives in Kempsey, says: “She would go above and beyond to speak to Hayley. She just had everything we needed at the time we needed it.”

Hayley rests her head on Andy's shoulder.

In summer 2022, Hayley was admitted to our In-patient Unit. This was the first time she had been into the hospice building.

“I thought, naively, that the hospice was like a hospital just in a nicer environment,” said Andy. “My idea was you went there when you were really close to passing away.

“The first thing the hospice doctor said to us was: ‘my aim is to get you back home’. That really reassures you.

“I think when you go to the hospice the idea is: ‘what’s your issue and we will sort your issue’. It becomes more personal. The patient is in control.”

During her stay on the In-patient Unit, Hayley’s family could spend time with her and sit on the patio outside her room.

And, with the support of our Hospitality Co-ordinator Tracey, she felt able to enjoy eating her favourite food – scampi – again.

“There was a heatwave and I was able to kind of work outside,” said Andy. “It did make life easier.

“It just meant I could support her and she could sit in the gardens in the shade. It meant that me and her mum could be there with her.”

Hayley returned home, where she continued to by supported by the hospice with regular visits and phone calls.

During this time, she completed a ReSPECT form with the support of hospice Clinical Nurse Specialist, Gayle Webster.

ReSPECT stands for Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment.

Andy explains: “If it wasn’t for that she would have been taken in an ambulance the night she passed away, and she would have unfortunately passed away on the way to the hospital.

“But this helped stop that so all her family could be with her, at home where she wanted to be.

“Little things like that we didn’t realise we needed to do, helped massively.”

Andy and Hayley on their wedding day.

We are so thankful to Andy for sharing his, and Hayley’s, experience of the support they received from St Richard’s.

And more than £3,370 has been raised for our care in Hayley’s memory – for which we are truly grateful.

Our care is provided free-of-charge, thanks to our community which donates, raises and gifts the majority of the funding for our services.

It is only thanks to donations like these that we can continue to fund our care for people like Hayley and Andy. Thank you.

To find out more about our care, visit www.strichards.org.uk/our-care