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20 August 2021

'Dad just felt at home at St Michael's'

‘Dad just felt at home at St Michael’s’

The family of a Hereford man who completed a walking challenge last year whilst staying at St Michael’s say raising money for the Hospice is their way of saying ‘Thank you’.

Daron Hodges was diagnosed with Oesophageal Cancer two years ago and during a bout of illness spent three weeks at St Michael’s last August, during which time his pain relief improved dramatically.

He returned home where he spent many action-packed, memorable months teaching his daughter Fleur and son Russ many life skills, but died shortly after being admitted to Hereford County Hospital in June this year.

His family say they will always remember and be grateful to St Michael’s for the care he received – so much so that instead of holding a funeral, they have set-up an online donation drive which has already raised almost £4,000.

‘Daron just felt at home at St Michael’s,’ said his wife, Kate.

‘He liked a joke and got on really well with the nursing staff, often joking with us all that he wanted a hot tub.’

Within days of being admitted, he was feeling better, so much so that Daron, together with his tiny puppy Hilda who would often visit, was able to take on a challenge devised by the Hospice’s therapy staff.

The aim was for patients to team up and walk the equivalent height of Britain’s three highest peaks – all from the comfort of the St Michael’s Inpatient Ward.

But such was Daron’s energy that he completed the 3,407 metres by himself.

Afterwards he said, ‘Before I came here, it felt like the end for me. Now, I feel a lot better.’

One of the aspects of Hospice care that he benefitted from was the therapy service. 

‘He really enjoyed the massages and felt better because of them,’ said his daughter, Fleur.

‘The staff at St Michael’s were just so friendly and helpful, and that really helped us as a family.

‘It wasn’t as though we were handing over his care to a stranger. ‘We knew we could trust them. We knew he was in good hands.

‘Dad always wanted to stay alive to see me finish university, and he did. I’m so grateful for that, and so grateful to St Michael’s for the love and support they showed us all.’

Fleur says her nan is now a huge supporter of her Hospice and even raises money by knitting cardigans which are sold at Corry’s Alterations in Hereford Butter Market.

Donations have already been given to St Michael’s in memory of Daron through a fishing event – Daron’s favourite sport – run by ex-colleagues at Western Power Distribution – colleague donations, and Hereford Lions Club, where he volunteered.

The family has also set-up a JustGiving page. It can be found by clicking here

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