Local woman, Ruth Spinks, whose late husband was cared for by Treetops Hospice Care, is sharing her personal story to support the charity’s lottery and help raise money for the hospice.

Treetops provides emotional support and nursing care for adults with life-limiting conditions, those who’ve been bereaved, and their loved ones, living in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

I was in love from the day I met him

Ruth’s husband, Stephen, died from oesophageal cancer in 2018 aged 59. Ruth, from Long Eaton explained more:

“Stephen and I were together for 33 years. I was in love with him from the day I met him and I still love him; that doesn’t come along twice. What Stephen and I had was very special.

“He was a lovely man and everybody loved him. He was very laid back, quiet and unassuming so when he got cancer, he was very accepting of it.”

Stephen was diagnosed in August 2017 and given an 8% survival rate:

“We celebrated Stephen’s 58th birthday in hospital and reached our 30th wedding anniversary in May 2018, which we didn’t think we’d get to. But in November, we were told he had probably two to three weeks left. He died two weeks and two days later.”

We’d said right away if he wanted to die at home that was fine

Ruth and Stephen had discussed his end of life wishes:

“When we knew Stephen was dying, we had a decision to make as to where he wanted to die. We’d said right away if he wanted to die at home that was fine.

“During the last days of Stephen’s life, there was a complete whirlwind of support including a Treetops Hospice at Home nurse who sat with Stephen overnight. She was absolutely lovely.

“Stephen had the best, best care and I’m so glad. Giving him his last wishes is huge to me and it was definitely what he wanted. He was really, really relieved to be able to stay at home.”

My counsellor was incredible, a star

After Stephen’s death, Treetops was also able to support Ruth:

“I went to Treetops to find out more about counselling. I did wonder if I was going to get anything out of it, but I just changed my mind set a little bit and thought, this is an opportunity for me to sit with somebody who doesn’t know me, who isn’t going to judge and isn’t going to try and fix it.

“My counsellor was incredible, a star. She was very understanding and encouraged me to look at things a little differently. She helped me realise there was no right or wrong and I have it within me to get through this, to live with it.

“I know that I would not be sitting here, as sane as I am, if it wasn’t for Treetops and my counsellor. There was so much support and I can’t thank Treetops enough.”

Ruth has shared her story in a recent Treetops Lottery Super Draw campaign. The annual Super Draw offers prize money of up to £2,000 and it is hoped it will raise the charity over £16,000 this year.

Playing the Treetops Lottery is an easy way to support the charity

Treetops Head of Lotteries, Mel de Vos explained more:

“We’re very grateful to Ruth for sharing her experience of the hospice and the difference it made to her and Stephen. We hope that in doing so, people will understand more about the care and support we provide, as well as how vital it is for us to raise money for the charity so we can help more people in the future.

“Playing the Treetops Lottery is an easy way to support the charity and the Super Draw is always a special event in our calendar. We have to raise more than £4.3 million every year and we must raise 70% of this ourselves through charitable donations, and fundraising activities including our Lottery.”

Since the Treetops Lottery began over twenty years ago, it has raised over £6 million for the hospice. Treetops cares for patients with life-limiting conditions such as cancer, motor neurone disease and chronic heart and lung conditions. The charity also supports families and carers, and all services are provided free of charge.

Treetops Hospice Care services include Support and Information, Wellbeing Space, Hospice at Home nurses and Therapeutic Services including counselling, art therapy and complementary therapy.