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Rotorua Community Hospice Stories

Stories of the individuals who have touched our lives.

This is Barbara’s story

Don’t ever be frightened to ring Hospice and get support. They are wonderful. It’s not necessarily the end – they can help. The thing is when you’re a patient or a friend of a patient you don’t know how to deal with it. They do. That’s why I would do anything for Hospice.

I have been a volunteer for Rotorua Community Hospice for over twenty years. I first started when a friend said they needed help answering phones at the cottage (the previous Hospice building). One day, I suggested hosting a garage sale as we had lots of items donated. We held two garage sales within a month at the race course. After that, the idea for a Rotorua Hospice shop was born and… here I am.

My husband, Ray, died in 2011 from stomach cancer. I still remember the moment the doctor, looked at Ray as he leaned over for something and suggested he go to hospital for some check ups. We weren’t even at the Doctor for that reason. They found tumours in his stomach. It was so unexpected.

We had a great life together. Ray always wanted to be a radio DJ. He joined a local volunteer station and I answered the phones! We managed hotels and started at the Princess Gate in Rotorua – it’s astonishing to see how much that place has changed. We would spend time at Pukehina beach. Ray loved fishing!

Eventually, Ray started going downhill. Hospice started coming 3 – 4 times per week. Ray accepted it and got to really love the nurses. He would wink at them as they came in the door. He was a flirt. He really was. He loved them coming; it was a break in his day.  He’d laugh and talk with them. He never appeared to be suffering – that’s the main thing.

When they (Hospice nurses) came into the house, we never felt they were in a hurry to get away. Friends came but a lot of people are embarrassed at the thought of someone being so sick. The nurses were good at discussing problems – as small as they may seem, the nurses always had an answer.

Our corgi, Travis jumped up on the couch every morning to say hi to Ray. The morning Ray died, Travis walked right past him and out the door. He didn’t come to say hello.

I was already involved with Hospice when Ray was diagnosed and I think it helped. He already knew people involved so Hospice wasn’t a strange word. I suppose it gave him confidence they would look after him.

Don’t ever be frightened to ring Hospice and get support. They are wonderful. It’s not necessarily the end – they can help. The thing is when you’re a patient or a friend of a patient you don’t know how to deal with it. They do. That’s why I would do anything for Hospice.

Rest in peace Ray Hedgeman 24/2/1934 – 18/10/2011

More stories from Rotorua Community Hospice

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This is Denise & Tahae’s story

In the words of their daughter, Sherry Tait… Words will never do our gratitude justice. Eight months ago my life changed, we prepared to lose both of our parents.

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This is Martine’s story

I really benefit from the coffee mornings. We don’t talk about our cancer or our illness – although we did at the start – we talk about everything. I really enjoy it.

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This is Kelly’s story

Without Hospice, we wouldn’t have been able to have it the way it was. Being at home was so important to Mum and to Tony and I. Hospice is the only thing that allowed that.

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This is Tom & Avis’ story

Having only moved to Rotorua two years ago from a lifestyle block, the Rotorua Hospice team has become Tom and Avis’ family.

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This is Frances’ story

Diagnosed with lung cancer nine years ago and having been with Rotorua Hospice for 18 months, Frances epitomises the hospice way of living every moment in whatever way is important to you.

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This is Monica’s story

It’s not just relatives she is classing as family; it is the team at Rotorua Hospice.

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This is Dexter the Dog’s story

Dexter the dog lives a few hundred metres away from Ferguson Home – a retirement community in Rotorua.

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This is Michael’s story

Michael remained incredibly positive throughout his journey. When the cancer returned Michael said, “Don’t worry mum, I’ve already had a good life”. Those words from a 19 year old were startling and inspirational.

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This is Barbara’s story

Don’t ever be frightened to ring Hospice and get support. They are wonderful. It’s not necessarily the end – they can help. The thing is when you’re a patient or a friend of a patient you don’t know how to deal with it. They do. That’s why I would do anything for Hospice.

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This is Brendan’s story

“Hospice didn’t come into our lives as the end of the road but rather as another tool to provide Dad and all of the family with the support to help fight his cancer.”

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This is Martine’s story

I really benefit from the coffee mornings. We don’t talk about our cancer or our illness – although we did at the start – we talk about everything. I really enjoy it.

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Rotorua Community Hospice Stories

Stories of the individuals who have touched our lives.