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A full recovery and a wish for ‘hospice in a bottle’
A full recovery and a wish for ‘hospice in a bottle’
Catherine Szelewski is smiling at the camera with her hand on a piano at the Michael Sobell Hospice

After a tragic family bereavement, Catherine Szelewski found herself turning to alcohol to cope. As her mental, spiritual, and physical health fell into a deep decline, Catherine was referred to the Michael Sobell Hospice to receive end-of-life care.

Then, miraculously, she made a full recovery after less than one week. This is her story.

“My daughter passed away in a car accident in 2017 and it was coming up to the fourth anniversary of her death. I was quite low and I was drinking very heavily. Then, I suddenly stopped drinking and went into a sort of spiral. I’m quite spiritual, and I would say my angels left me; that’s how I felt. I felt darkness around me. This was my breakdown because I’d felt I had to hold everybody up and carry on since losing her.

“It got to the point where my children phoned the ambulance and the hospital told my children that I was going to die. There was nothing more they could do for me; I was going to the hospice.

“My angels started coming back to me”

“I couldn’t work out where I was. I could see trees and I remember thinking “I’m not in heaven or anything like that, or am I?”, because it was so lovely. Then I started getting clarity that I was in a hospice, but I didn’t think I was gonna die.

“I came in on the Saturday, my cousin’s daughter visited and did a type of hands-on-healing with me, which I believe in. The doctor came to see me on the Monday and told me my bloods were better and helped me to try to begin walking again. By the Friday I left this hospice walking, when I’d come in to die on the Saturday. How does that work?

“My angels started coming back to me then. I’ve never looked back a year on. There is a reason and I think this hospice saved my life. They are amazing.

“I couldn’t put them through any more.”

“My daughters and husband had been told that there is no hope, I was going into the hospice to die. How awful for them – imagine that – how dreadful for them. They’re all gems and with what they’ve been through losing their sister, I couldn’t put them through any more. I had to get better.

“After being told there is no hope, every day I was here I was getting better. I was eating, I wasn’t on drips or anything. I was back to normal…how magical for them!

“There is hope here in the hospice, not everybody passes away. But, if you are going to pass away this is a lovely place to be as well because the energy here is so amazing.

“They’re a different league of nursing”

“We need people to put money into something that is going to be used in a way that people can see, and you can see it in this hospice on a day-to-day basis. They’re a different league of nursing, a special type of people. They are angels.

“I was in a terrible place when I came here, and they made me how I am now. As you come through these doors it is amazing. You have to be a special type of person to work in a hospice and the care here is second to none. You can’t bottle it, I wish you could.”

Since walking out of the Hospice on that incredible Saturday, Catherine has been fundraising for us through a series of walks around London. Throughout October 2022, Catherine walked 10 miles through various parks, including Hampstead Heath and Cassiobury Park. She has raised an incredible £1,555 in support of the services that once supported her. Thank you Catherine!

“The love and care they give to patients is second to none and they are in need of funding to help carry on their important work!”

Matron Carol stands with a woman in a blue sari in our gardens at Lansdowne House

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