Sarah Heyworth passed away aged 16 at Derian House, four years after she was first diagnosed with cancer in her Tibia, it was a very bone cancer called Ewings Sarcoma. She had had her left leg amputated and had learned to walk with an artificial limb before being told that the cancer had spread to her lungs.
Her mum, Lynda, has shared her memories of their family’s time spent at the hospice.
She said: “Derian House wraps its arms around the whole family. Even now, years after we lost Sarah, we still think of Derian House as our second home.
“The hospice has played a huge part in all of our lives during the time that Sarah was ill. I can’t believe that it is now celebrating its 30th year.
“We were first referred to the hospice for physiotherapy.” Lynda continued.
“I have to admit that the very word ‘hospice’ sent a shiver of fear through me. I thought no, we’re not going to a hospice.
“So they said why not try the pool and see how you feel?
“When we visited that first time it didn’t feel like a hospice at all. It wasn’t what you’d expect it to be. It was beautiful. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly.
“And from that day on, Sarah used the hospice on and off. It was her home from home. She had everything she could possibly need. She made friends there. She would have sleepovers with her friends.
“As a family we had a flat upstairs where we could take time out, sleep, and prepare our own meals if we wanted.
“I remember on my birthday, it was Chinese New Year, the staff at Derian arranged a Chinese banquet for us as well as a cake baked by one of the hospice volunteers. I couldn’t have asked for a more memorable birthday.
“Then on the day that Sarah passed away, she just said ‘I think it’s time to go home now.’
“And sadly, she passed away that night peacefully, surrounded by everyone – family and staff – who loved her.
“The staff at Derian were like an extended family – they laughed and cried with us.” Said Lynda. “We couldn’t possibly have managed without their wonderful love and support.
“We will always hold a place in our hearts for the staff and volunteers who make Derian House a warm caring environment, full of love and laughter for all the children and families who walk through the doors.”