Lisa, 53, is one of Derian House’s longest serving staff members and has worked at the hospice for 27 years.
“When I was offered a job at Derian House, I never looked back. It does not feel like 27 years!” Said Lisa.
Lisa was 26 when she first rang the hospice to ask if they had any job vacancies in the care team. She was a single mum to 2-year-old Craig.
“It was rare to get a job at Derian House then. It was in 1996, and I had been caring for adults at the time over in Whalley. But as things changed, and as a single mum, I needed something a bit closer to home. Derian House was just around the corner for me, so it seemed perfect. I still have my interview letter, my acceptance letter, and my job contract from back then.”
Lisa was a Clinical Support Worker for 21 years, before she completed a degree in Health and Social Care and qualified as an Assistant Practitioner in 2018.
“I wanted to go further in my career but I didn’t want to leave Derian.” Said Lisa.
“In 2016 I went off to Uclan on a study day and researched the Assistant Practitioner role to develop my clinical skills and knowledge to be able to deliver a high standard of care. I work with complex children who use tracheostomies and vents, and I have an extended role as Student Co-ordinator which enables me to induct and support any student nurses who come to Derian.
“I have always enjoyed working at Derian. I have met a lot of young people along the way and we have been lucky to see a lot of them grow. We have had some cracking days.
“One of my all-time favourite memories was when we took some of the older boys on holiday to Tenerife in 2002.” Said Lisa.
“I did a shark dive to raise money for it. I don’t even like fish, and I don’t like dirty murky water. So doing this shark dive was massive for me. I think I raised between £500 to £800, which was a lot of money then.
“I remember that there was a write-up on the challenge and the headline was ‘Fish and dips’.” Lisa laughed.
“In the end we raised enough to take the boys to Tenerife. It was fantastic because the boys had never been abroad before. They had never been on a plane. They didn’t think either could ever happen. But we got there and the sun was shining. The boys could go in the pool. They had the most amazing time and it was so worth all the effort that went into getting them there. I have lots of lovely photos of the boys.
“But only one thing went wrong.” Said Lisa.
“Just as the coach pulled up to take everyone to the airport, I was still in my room and really badly ill with food poisoning. The boys went to the airport and my boss at the time had to stay with me for another week. Neither of us had any money. I had to go to hospital because it was so severe. That’s where I spent the week – with a drip in each arm.
“We learned a lot from that holiday.” Laughed Lisa. “Even though I got very poorly, I would do it all again. It was brilliant.
“We always have had a lot of fun at Derian. As an animal lover, one of my favourite things has been the pets we have had. We used to have two budgies, four goldfish, guinea pigs and rabbits. We would have travelling zoos visit too.
“I always loved the weekends we would have for the teenagers. We used to go on so many trips out and we had lots of parties. The Lodge Christmas parties have always been amazing. And the galas! I used to take the gala weekend off so that me and my son could run the cake, tea and coffee stall in the marquee because I loved it that much.”
When Lisa and two of her colleagues hit 25 years of working at Derian, the hospice threw a party to mark the occasion.
“I haven’t always worked in care.” Said Lisa.
“I had actually been a ballet and tap dancer since I was two. It was all I knew up until the age of 18 when I had to stop. I was heartbroken. It was after this that I decided to follow my mum’s footsteps – she was an auxiliary nurse in hospital and she inspired me to go down the care route. I learnt a lot of my compassion and empathy from my mum.
“I am very proud of where I work and I love my job.” Said Lisa.
“I don’t think I would still be here after all this time if I didn’t. Derian runs through your veins – I can’t explain it. There has never been a day when I have not wanted to come into work in the morning.
“The hospice has changed so much. The team has grown into so much more than it was, and the building has been improved and extended. It used to be a lot smaller. I remember when we only had four hoists. And I remember how the bedrooms used to look – all the bedspreads would match the curtains.
“I do love looking after the babies, the children, the young people. Whether it be respite, or end-of-life care. We want each young person to have as much quality of life as possible while at Derian – that’s all that matters.
“I have seen a lot of children and young people come and go. To be there at the end of a child’s life is emotionally heartbreaking, but such a privilege still to this day. And some young people grow up and leave Derian at 26 – and then it’s hard to say goodbye because you have known them for most of their lives.
“Derian House is an incredible place. The memories that are made at the hospice are worth their weight in gold for our families I hope this compassion and love will continue for the next 30 years and beyond.”