Paola Noto explains how North London Hospice is helping people cope with life-limiting illnesses
When you enter the Health and Wellbeing Centre in Barrowell Green, one of the first smiles that greets you is that of volunteer Peri Emirali.
Peri’s involvement with North London Hospice began three years ago when the charity cared for her mother Vasfiye, who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Asked how she became involved with the hospice and what motivates her to give up her spare time, Peri said: “After mum was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer we were referred to the North London Hospice’s palliative care team.
“I didn’t know much about the hospice then. One of the community nurses came to visit mum at her home in Edmonton and we talked about how she could support us in managing her pain and what her wishes were. She was so patient, kind and caring.
“Mum was invited to attend the Health and Wellbeing Centre and it was here that she met so many lovely people. She used to look forward to coming and socialising. She enjoyed the sing-alongs, art,
and the great company. One of my fondest memories was of her singing with the violinist in the centre’s living room.
“On other days she was able to have acupuncture and reflexology to help relieve her pain. Mum found the centre calming and the staff very loving.”
North London Hospice is a registered charity, caring for local people in the boroughs of Barnet, Enfield and Haringey. We help people with specialist needs as a result of a potentially life-limiting illness and we support patients in making the most of their life despite their illness – last year we cared for almost 2,500 patients.
Peri continued: “Mum wanted to die at home and I knew that North London Hospice would support her when thetime came. The hospice enabled us as a family to have this choice. Mum wanted as much normality around her as possible.
“When it came to the end of her life she was surrounded by her family. She died comfortably surrounded bythe people she loved.”
North London Hospice also offers emotional and practical support to patients’ families, friends, and carers. It costs £10million a year to run our services, which are free to patients and their families.
“People mustn’t be frightened ofthe word ‘hospice’,” says Peri. “It’s just a word that we’re conditioned to feel frightened of.
“A year after mum’s death I applied to be a front-of-house volunteer at the Health and Wellbeing Centre and to offer my support with their social programme. The people who come here are so positive and have such energy. It really rubs off on you.
“I love meeting the patients and their families. We always have a laugh and they tell me their stories. We sit and play dominoes, make cards and jewellery. The patients are all very special and that’s why we’re here, to make the unbearable bearable.”
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