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Cuddlebeds and the Camino Way
Cuddlebeds and the Camino Way

At Harlington Hospice we understand how important it is to be close to the people we love, during the good times and the bad. And no one knows this more than our Michael Sobell House Nurses who support the people staying at our Inpatient Unit and their family and friends. This is why our Palliative Care Nurse Consultant Jo Fernandes will be taking on a challenging 6 day ride along the Camino Way in May to raise the funds for a beautiful piece of equipment known as a ‘Cuddlebed’. Nurse Jo has shared more about the Cuddlebed and her fundraising challenge below. 

“I am a Palliative Care Nurse Consultant at Michael Sobell House. I am also a horse lover. For many years it has been a privilege to take my horses to visit patients and their families in Hospices, bringing great joy to many.

Nurse Jo stood with her brown horse in a field of daffodils

“Continuing the theme of how good horses are for Hospices, I am now embarking upon an exciting equestrian adventure with high hopes of raising at least £15,000 for a very special piece of equipment for the Inpatient Unit: a ‘Cuddlebed’. The clue is in the name, innovation meets compassion. Starting as single patient bed to allow full nursing care, at the touch of a button, these ingenious beds widen to a double bed, allowing patients and their loved ones to come together for a cuddle. I have been a nurse for 35 years and in my long career, I have seen how profoundly human touch can comfort people at their most vulnerable times. The Cuddlebed will give so many patients and their families this chance to share precious moments.

“Caring for a young Mum, Priya, at Michael Sobell last Christmas has been my inspiration for bringing a Cuddlebed to the House. Priya’s devoted husband, Dan, spent many days and nights beside her in a recliner chair. However, throughout this time, Dan wanted nothing more than a chance to be in the same bed as his beloved wife. The family made other memories; myself and another nurse, Donna, accompanied Priya, Dan, their 5 years old daughter, plus other family members, to Disneyland Paris for the day, shortly before Priya died. A beautiful, memory-making opportunity shared with her loved ones. And yet, we could still have brought one more joy to this family before Priya died. I clearly remember Dan’s words, “I’d give anything to be beside her, to cuddle her in a bed just one last time”.

Priya, her husband Dan and their daughter at Disneyland Paris

“Starting off in O Cebreiro, Spain, I, accompanied by my friends Kate and Sarah, will ride Spanish horses along the most famous part of the Camino Way. Arriving 150km and 6 days later at Santiago de Compostela, and dismounting my horse at the steps of the Cathedral.

Nurses Christine and Jo lying and having a cuddle on the trial Cuddlebed at Michael Sobell House

Tuesday 18th April:

“Just 18 days to go before I start my ride. Exciting day today: a Cuddlebed has arrived at the Hospice for a two week trial. Amazing carer Cristina and I had a demo of its incredible features. It’s better than I had imagined, helping to keep patients safe and connected with their loved ones. Just got to raise the money now to make sure the dream of having our own Cuddlebed becomes a reality!

Monday 1st May:

Just five more days before we leave for Spain. I’m spending as much time as possible in the saddle and in the gym to maximise my fitness for the challenge. I’ve been overwhelmed by the extraordinary generosity of so many. 

“Every penny raised will go towards buying this bed and not towards the cost of the trip. In fact, thanks to the amazing generosity of my supporters, we have already raised enough to buy one Cuddlebed and want to buy a second! And, even better news, thanks to one particularly generous donor, every penny raised towards the second Cuddlebed will be DOUBLED – so every donation from this point on until I reach my new target will go twice as far. If I exceed this target, any additional donations raised will support patients being cared for on the Inpatient Unit.

“Thank you for taking the time to read this and for supporting me in my ambition.”

If you would like to support Jo in this amazing challenge and contribute to some very meaningful cuddles please donate here.

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

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