Being diagnosed with a terminal illness can be devastating, not only for the patient but for their family as well.
That’s why at Trinity Hospice there is a special counselling service for anyone who needs it, based at the Linden Centre, opposite the hospice on Low Moor Road, Bispham.
And it proved a great help to sisters Chantelle and Jade Sharp when their granddad, Joseph Latta, was diagnosed with stomach cancer two years ago.
Chantelle, 16, said: “I think it made us realise what was happening to our family because of the cancer, and prepared us for what was going to happen. It also helped us to make new friends and build confidence.”
Chantelle and Jade, 14, were told to write down how they would feel about losing someone close to them, and were able to speak to staff whenever they needed to.
Chantelle, an art and design student at Blackpool Sixth Form College, added: “I could speak to the other children there too – they understood what we were going through.
“When papa died I knew he was in a better place. The help we received at Linden helped us to be mentally happier when the time came.”
After the help she received at the Linden Centre, Jade decided to shave her head to raise money for Trinity Hospice. She raised £1,037.
“Shaving my head helped me deal with what was happening,” she said.
“And I wanted to show how much I appreciated Trinity for everything they did for us and papa. I was really upset when papa got ill, he was like a father figure to me, but the Linden Centre helped me cope with what was happening to him.”
Joseph received palliative care as an inpatient at Trinity Hospice, attended the day centre when he was discharged and was helped at his home on Spencer Court, Blackpool, by the hospice’s community nurses before his death on August 18.
His daughter – Chantelle and Jade’s mum – Annemarie Latta said: “When I first went to Trinity I couldn’t believe how nice it was. It was absolutely stunning.
“The nurses were like angels. They gave great compassionate and dignified care.”
The Linden Centre is available for patients and their families even before they’re told they are facing the end of their life, and even those who have been given the all clear but are worried about recurrence.
It also works with all schools on the Fylde Coast to support children whose family is hit by terminal conditions.
Linden Centre team leader Rebekah Clitherow said: “Grief is a healthy and appropriate process when something traumatic happens.
“It’s about feeling sad and angry when you lose someone, and these feelings are common to everybody going through bereavement but each person’s journey is unique whatever the circumstances.”