Mum-of-three and school worker Max Tetlow, 47, from Leyland, talks candidly about her initial reservations about volunteering as a befriender with St Catherine’s, but explains how spending time with her ‘inspirational’ patient at home has opened the door to new experiences and changed her life.
After having personal experience of St Catherine’s with my much-loved mother-in-law, I found the hospice to be an uplifting and positive place, despite being there through such difficult circumstances, and decided to get involved as a volunteer.
I put myself forward to become a befriender and enjoyed the training at the hospice, which I found to be most informative, and I met some lovely people who had so much experience to share.
Once trained, I answered the call of someone who had requested the befriending service; I was nervous to meet them at first but was immediately put at by ease by an amazing patient and family.
I’ve been volunteering for a few months and my weekly visits can be anything up to a couple of hours and involve chatting to the patient, making the odd brew and enabling the patient’s carers to have a break.
I have found that we have so much in common and have learnt so much from the patient. In particular, I have found my patient to be so inspirational; they have done so much in their life with so many happy memories which we have reminisced about.
It makes me feel that I should make the most of every day and I always feel uplifted when I’ve visited. I have even promised to learn to swim – a promise I have the feeling I will need to keep!
I would say to anyone considering volunteering for St Catherine’s to go for it – it could change your life. The hospice is an amazing place and everyone is so friendly and supportive, I love being part of it.
To find out more about befriending and learn about our upcoming training sessions in October, call 01772 629171, or click here.
Max is pictured with her husband Garry, her two sons and daughter, aged 24, 21 and 16