My mum and I first heard about Hope House in 2016. Up until then I hadn’t been aware of anywhere who offered something for adults after a cancer diagnose. The first time we stayed there was after I had completed all my treatment for breast cancer and I was suffering terribly from fatigue; my mum at the same time was also recovering from her treatment for breast cancer and had not long finished treatment for leukaemia and was feeling drained and a bit low. I knew my mum would really benefit from a wee break away. We confirmed a date which coincided with one of my mums hospital appointments in Belfast. We met Dawn at Hope House and she gave us the warmest hugs and filled us in on the local area, showed us around the house and said there was fresh bread, milk and a large chicken pie in the fridge for us and lots of food in the cupboard, she immediately lifted both our spirits. We had the most relaxing few days and it really was a peaceful haven.
My mum had one of her bone marrow biopsies at the hospital on our first day there which she normally finds painful and distressing but she said was much easier to handle this time as she knew she was going back to Hope House afterwards to sit in the window chair overlooking the sea. We had such a lovely few days spending time together relaxing and not having to worry about anything.
The second time we stayed was in July. Unfortunately when it was booked we had no indication that my mums health would then deteriorate so quickly. Sadly my mums breast cancer returned very aggressively and closer to the time of going to Hope House, we were unsure if she would be too sick to travel to Belfast.
But she was determined to go, my sister also came with us. When we arrived there was a gorgeous bunch of flowers for my mum which made her eyes light up. Even though my mum struggled to walk any distance, many times during that stay we walked down to the bench and huddled together watching the sea. My mum always loved the sea and it was the most relaxed, content and at peace I had seen her in the last few months. We had such a special few days spending quality time together and took lots of photos of us on the bench and in Hope House. Little did we know these would be the last photographs taken together as my mum sadly passed away two weeks later.
If it wasn’t for everyone at Hope House my sister and I would not have had the chance to spend one last girlie weekend with my beautiful precious mum nor have had such precious treasured photos for memories of our last ever weekend together. I cannot stress how important this was for us and without Hope House this would not have happened. Hope House is a lifeline for those who are suffering from cancer and its awful treatment and for family members and carers, it gives a much needed escape away from the routine of hospital appointments, and the physical and emotional rollercoaster which a cancer diagnosis can bring.
Hope House provides a beautiful peaceful setting where there is space to recuperate and rest and where precious lasting memories can be made which is one of life’s priceless most important gifts. I will be forever grateful to everyone for allowing us to experience this and I hope that many many more families will get to stay at Hope House and benefit from the amazing generosity and kindness that you experience from a visit to Hope House .