Family photo of mum, dad, son and daughter celebrating 50th wedding anniversary

Ellen Busby is amongst the first to sign up for our Moonlight Walk walking in memory of her late husband John, affectionately known as ‘Buzz’.

Treetops nurses helped care for Buzz at the end of his life earlier this year. Ellen will be joined by her daughter Zoe and friends, raising money to say thank you to the charity.

The nurses' support meant we could be together as a family

Proceeds from the sponsored 10k night walk help fund Treetops nursing care for local patients at the very end of life, in their own home. The Hospice at Home and Roaming Nurse Service were vital for Buzz, Ellen, and their family as she explained:

The Treetops nurses' support meant we could be together as a family at home. The nurses were amazing, caring, and truly dedicated to end-of-life care.  It made the last few days of Buzz’s life so calm and comfortable. He was peaceful and he was pain-free. He passed away peacefully and with dignity.

Ellen described more about her husband who ‘lived life to the full’.

Buzz loved life. He never lost his sparkle

“Buzz loved life like I did. He did a number of charity events with his local youth club as a teenager, and was very well-liked, with lots of friends. He worked for Rolls Royce and loved watching any sport on telly, and he even became a Derby County fan despite being born in Banbury!

“Buzz also loved barbecues. We barbecued all the time; at our caravan on the Isle of Wight, in the rain, and even on Christmas Day! We’d sit at the bottom of the garden at the firepit, singing songs till all hours.  He was always the life and soul of the party, and he never lost that sparkle. He was a very happy chappy.”

The couple, who celebrated their 50th golden wedding anniversary in February, met on holiday in Italy. Buzz asked Ellen to dance on the first night of his holiday and their romance blossomed.

We just carried on living

Around 20 years ago, Buzz was diagnosed as diabetic and having a fatty liver, conditions that the couple lived with for many years.

“The doctors said it was nothing to worry about. He was on medication, and it didn’t stop us from doing anything at all. We just carried on living. We did everything that we wanted to do because our motto was, ‘You’re here for a good time, not a long time’.”

But at the start of the pandemic, Buzz was diagnosed with ‘autoimmune hepatitis’. This is a rare liver disease where the body’s immune system causes damage to its own healthy liver cells.

Despite medication and regular blood tests, Buzz started to get weaker. Every few months he needed fluid draining from his abdomen.

"Just over two years ago, we saw Buzz’s consultant. We said to him, ‘Just be open and honest with us. Tell us straight,” Ellen continues.

“He said, your liver is gradually deteriorating. I would say you’ve got 12 to 18 months left.

“It came as a shock to both of us. But we said we’ve just got to do what we want to do and get Buzz’s bucket list sorted out.”

End-of-life nursing care at home

The couple were referred to Treetops Hospice for end-of-life care six months later. Treetops Hospice at Home nurses and the Roaming Nurse Service helped care for Buzz giving Ellen much-needed ‘me time’:

“I found it hard to let go. I was his wife and felt it was my role to care for him. And it was the nurse in me too.

Buzz was frightened to be on his own at home, so the Treetops nurses would sit with him. They were so, so lovely with him and it meant I wasn't worrying about him while I went to do some shopping or go to the bank.

“I wasn't getting much sleep, so the nurses also came at night. They were so caring and professional. “

Taking part in the Moonlight Walk

Ellen and daughter, Zoe, have signed up for Treetops Moonlight Walk, Derby’s biggest night-time charity walk. The walk takes place on Friday 6 September at 8pm. Participants can take on a 5k or 10k route, starting and ending at Bustler Derby.

It’s so important to us to fundraise for Treetops to give something back and say thank you.

“Our son, Lee, ran the London Marathon for Treetops in April. Lee had his dad’s photo and name on his t-shirt, so he knew he was with him.

 It spurred him on. Buzz was full of praise for Lee and said, ‘Treetops deserves all the money we can get for them’.

Lee Busby completing the London Marathon in memory of his dad
London Marathon t-shirt with photo of Buzz and Marathon medal

“I could never run a marathon so when we saw the Moonlight Walk, my daughter said, ‘That’s it, that’s what we’re going to do’.

We’ve got quite a lot in our ‘Team Buzz’ now and we’re looking forward to it. Buzz would say ‘Well done gal, just be careful you don't go down the wrong road!’ He’d love it and he’ll be with us, all the way.”