Following an incurable cancer diagnosis at the age of 36, Matt underwent a series of treatments and trials, but sadly the cancer spread. Here, Matt’s wife Clare shares their story and the difference Katharine House made to Matt’s final months. 

"Can you imagine getting married and having a baby and then being told you have incurable cancer? This was the reality for my husband Matt aged just 36. 

"A persistent cough failed to clear up with antibiotics and scans showed tumours all over both lungs with spread to the spine. No other symptoms apart from a cough and he looked like the picture of health standing at 6ft 2in and just over 100kg. Without treatment, he was given just 3–6 months to live.  

Trials and treatment 

"What followed was a whole new world of appointments, scans, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiotherapy. Cancer progression and serious side effects. A stint in the critical care unit of the Royal Marsden Hospital on our son's second birthday. An opioid addiction. Far removed from the life a young parent should be living. 

"In 2016, he ran out of all approved treatment options and started a clinical trial at the Marsden. When this stopped working, he started another trial at the Churchill Hospital.  

"Sadly, in 2019 the cancer had spread so far it could not be controlled. Thanks to severe side effects from earlier treatment, he now had adrenal insufficiency which led to many unscheduled trips to A&E. Matt was in so much pain he needed crutches to walk just a few steps. All of this was impossible alongside raising a young child.  

Care at Katharine House 

"Matt spent a total of four months in Katharine House. Going from a ward in a general hospital to having his own comfortable room and dignity. His symptoms were now under control, and he could relax. He spent his time building model aeroplanes, enjoying delicious food, spa baths and playing the Xbox. We hired a mobility scooter, and he could come and go in the daytime and get around the village, often enjoying a drink at the pub. Matt even made it to his son's sports day. 

"What followed was an inevitable decline, but I have no doubt he was in the best place for his final weeks. The staff were so amazing. Matt would regularly see a physiotherapist, lymphoedema nurse and chaplain in addition to the excellent medical and nursing care. Myself and his other close relatives were included in the care, and we had access to counselling and therapy. There was even a kids’ room with crafts and games to entertain them. We were accommodated to stay over in his final days in his room and also in a self-contained flat upstairs. It meant that we could be with him when he needed us most.  

Life after Matt 

"Following Matt’s death, I have used the day hospice for bereavement counselling and an art therapy class. I have always been made to feel very welcome.  

"It is essential that we continue to support the running of the hospice. Even if you have never needed Katharine House services, I think our story shows that anyone could end up needing it at any time. There are no certainties in life."

Clare recently took part in our Moonlight Walk in memory of Matt and raised an incredible £500 to help support our hospice. It’s thanks to the fundraising efforts of people like Clare that we’re able to continue offering patients and their families specialist care when they need us the most. 

Please help us help people like Matt and Clare

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