Terminally ill Eastbourne mum calls for more support for hospice

Debbie with her youngest children children, Cerys, 10, and Kai, 8 SUS-150807-143600001
Debbie with her youngest children children, Cerys, 10, and Kai, 8 SUS-150807-143600001

A terminally-ill mother of four from Eastbourne, has spoken about the need for others to support St Wilfrid’s Hospice. Debbie Downs, 41, began using hospice services shortly after finding out she had incurable breast cancer last summer. “When the word ‘hospice’ was introduced to me, I was adamant I would never step foot inside of it, I was terrifed,” said Debbie, who lives with her family in Langney.

“But I’m almost ashamed of how I reacted now. It was difficult at first. I came in for my first counselling session, saw a leaflet about talking to your children about dying, and burst into tears. I couldn’t even look at it.

“My counsellor kindly removed the pamphlets from the room to encourage me to stay and I haven’t looked back since. The counselling here has absolutely transformed me. I see things in a new light and I can openly talk about my situation now which is so important. In fact, I can’t stop talking about it.

“Time is the most precious gift of all and I want to inspire as many people as possible to make the most of their lives and treasure the little things. I also want to encourage everybody to support St Wilfrid’s Hospice.

“It’s a truly amazing place. I feel relaxed, safe, and special here, and I’m so much more positive. I’m not just a diagnosis, I’m Debbie Downs.

“The hospice has saved me from a dark place and given me hope. I have nothing but praise for them, and I will spend the rest of my life making sure that everybody knows it.”

Since Debbie’s story was shared on the hospice Facebook page earlier this week, she has received an outpouring of love and support from the local community. National charity, Hospice UK, have also shared the piece, thanking her for highlighting the importance of hospice care and the difference it makes.

“The hospice has told me that my story has been seen by almost 20,000 people so far,” said Debbie.

“I’m overwhelmed by that, and by all of the kind messages that people have left. I can’t change my situation, but I can use it to help others and to drum up much-needed support for St Wilfrid’s.

“There’s no time to sit and dwell over the ‘why me?’

“I’ve got a legacy to leave. While spreading the word about hospice care, I’m also creating as many happy memories for my children as possible, which will include doing the hospice’s Starlight Stroll as a family in September.

“Kai always says that I’m ‘the bestest mummy in the world’, which is all I could ever hope to be.”

For more information and how you can help the hospice visit www.stwhospice.org

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