When Ann Beard was admitted to St Michael’s, the last thing on her mind was becoming a social media star. But footage of her dancing through the ward accompanied by two members of our therapy team sparked a flurry of online love both at home and as far away as Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Ann has COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and became ill last autumn, causing her to be admitted for what she assumed would be a short stay at the Hospice. ‘I didn’t realise quite how ill I was at the time,’ said Ann. ‘My youngest son visited me early on and later told his wife, ‘That’s not my mum. That’s a frail old lady’.’

Ann thought she would be at St Michael’s for about seven days. In fact, her stay lasted seven weeks, but she made the most of every second.

‘Everyone there was just a joy to be around. The staff would say that all they could hear coming from my room was laughter.’ Ann, who has also benefitted from attending Day Services groups at St Michael’s, says she had a great time with the Therapy Team in particular.  ‘I’ve been on a peddle bike, I’ve danced, walked and just had fun. And that’s so important to me.’

The dance she refers to, performed in her wheelchair, was recorded by the Hospice’s Communications team to the popular song Blinding Lights by The Weeknd and placed on St Michael’s social media channels. ‘My family thought it was brilliant,’ added Ann. ‘My nephew in Australia showed his friends and they all shared it too. I’ve also got family in New Zealand and Canada who saw the video, and loved it.

‘I never thought all this would have been possible at St Michael’s. Quite simply, the Hospice has been a lifeline. Not just to me but to my family as well. They’ve taught me one thing, and that is that life is for living, if you’re just prepared to accept that help. Yes, I was apprehensive before first coming to St Michael’s. Now, I know I’ll never be afraid to walk through those doors. Not even when my time comes.’