'˜They have given me the strength to go on'

A former support worker has described how she truly believed her life was over when she was diagnosed with a chronic lung condition nine months ago.

Monday, 14th May 2018, 1:50 pm
Updated Monday, 14th May 2018, 1:56 pm
Donna Britt with Day Therapy Unit staff at Trinity

Forced to give up work, Donna Britt lost what little confidence she had and hid herself away from the world.

She let her husband Colin talk for her so she didn’t have to speak to anyone, and, in her words, hit total rock bottom.

“I felt like I had nothing in my life,” she said. “I just wanted to curl up and die. I thought there was no way back for me.

Donna Britt with Day Therapy Unit staff at Trinity

“I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I just shut myself in a corner and didn’t interact with anyone. I didn’t go out for eight months; I was in my own little bubble and I deteriorated. I didn’t want to carry on.”

Struggling with her diagnosis of bronchitis and emphysema, Donna, 56, was referred to Trinity Hospice’s Day Therapy Unit (DTU) by her well-being nurse. The unit offers a 16-week course of therapy sessions for anyone with a terminal diagnosis.

She said: “I didn’t think it would be for me. I saw all the people who were there for the same reasons as me, but I really didn’t think I could do it. I just decided to give it a try, and honestly it’s the best thing I’ve done.”

Through her sessions at the Day Therapy Unit, Donna, of Kipling Drive, Marton, has had a makeover and had her nails done – small luxuries she’d never had before which have made a huge difference in her life. She said: “That makeover was life changing.

Donna with staff from the Day Therapy Unit at Trinity Hospice

“I’ve never pampered myself before, and I’ve never worn nail varnish. I’ve never liked myself, and don’t look in the mirror. Now I have a new confidence and my husband said my face was absolutely shining.

“He says the turnaround since I started coming to Trinity is magnificent; that I’m a completely changed person.” Donna, a mother-of-three and grandmother -of -four, says she owes her happiness to the staff and volunteers at Trinity, who have transformed her life and given her help in coping with her illness.

“This illness took my life away from me. Trinity gave it back and made it better than it ever was. I cannot thank the staff and volunteers enough for what they have done for me.

They are the biggest part of rehabilitation; they are the ones who have given me opportunities I never would have had and made me feel so much better about myself.

“They have given me the strength to go on.”

How Trinity helps us all

- Trinity’s Day Therapy Unit supported 135 patients last year

- 857 people across the Fylde coast and their families were given end of life care in their own homes last year

- 83 per cent of Trinity’s community patients died in their preferred place of care in 2017 (UK national average is 21 per cent)

- It costs £275,000 a year to run the Day Therapy Unit at Trinity Hospice.