Lindsay's Story

Joan HughesLindsay Hillyard was 24 when her mother Joan Hughes, a widow with four children, died from secondary bone cancer at the age of just 56 in 1998.

“When she first started attending the hospice, I thought we were really letting her down,” recalled Lindsay. “But the very first day we went there, a wonderful nurse called Steven met us with a great big smile and just chatted to us all.

“It was all so different from what I had imagined. The staff were  friendly and caring – caring about us as well as my Mum – and they looked after her so well right until the end.

“We felt comfortable there and really appreciated everything they did.”

Lindsay had to look after her younger sister after their mother’s death but the hospice continued its interested and caring approach to the family.

So, when Lindsay’s own son Conor was born 24 years ago with Pallister-Killian Syndrome, she wasn't at all worried about him spending time at Bolton Hospice’s Wellbeing Hub in recent years.

Conor suffers from the rare genetic disorder which affects various parts of the body with physical and neurological symptoms. He cannot speak (apart from saying “Mum”), has limited abilities and Lindsay is his full-time carer.

Unfortunately, he has had Covid twice and now suffers chest infections and aspiration pneumonia and his seizures have become more severe in the last year. “But Conor is a warrior and is fighting it,” added his Mum.

“It was devastating for us as a family to acknowledge Conor needed to now be involved with the palliative care team.

Lindsay Hillyard & Conor"The hospice, though, has truly been the best thing to happen at this heartbreaking time."

“Conor attends art therapy classes there and is very relaxed to come into the hospice. This is great as being in hospital surroundings usually makes him very stressed,” stated Lindsay.

“The staff are lovely and supportive with us both and to have a 24-hour phone number to ring in the middle of the night when I feel alone and unsure I’m doing the right thing is wonderful.”

To boost hospice funds, Lindsay has taken part in both the STEPtember challenge of 300,000 steps and the My Memories Walk with son Aaron.

“I’m glad to be able to give something back,” said Lindsay. “We would be in a very dark place indeed without the help of the hospice.”