Mike, who lives in Kingstanding, was 65 years old when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) – a progressive neurological condition that affects the brain and nerves. As his symptoms progressed, Mike needed additional support and he was referred to John Taylor Hospice.
“I’ve met some lovely people there and struck up quite a few friendships,” explains father-of-three and grandfather Mike. “It’s friendly, it’s relaxed and people there have a genuine interest in what you think and what you do. They try to help you at all times.”
As well as visiting the Living Well Centre once a week, John Taylor teams have been able to offer Mike physiotherapy, access to complementary therapies and support at home from a clinical nurse specialist and occupational therapist. “They’ve been absolutely brilliant at getting equipment and advising me how to cope with the MND,” adds Mike. “I can’t thank them enough.”
Receiving this care and support has made such a difference to Mike that he chose to share his story with John Taylor Hospice on film – to help raise awareness and understanding of MND and highlight the need to widen access to the vital support that hospices provide for families across the West Midlands.
“I’m aware now how difficult the situation is because there’s no cure,” says Mike, 67. “Losing my independence is what affected me most at the beginning but, with extra help, I’m learning how to cope with it a bit better. The hospice has helped me a lot in realising and recognising the road I’m on and to feel more at peace with what is happening.”