Leamington and Whitnash Trees of Light: How the Myton Hospices helped bring Trish back from the brink

Hospital staff only expected Trish Matthews, who has incurable lung cancer, to live for a couple of days at Christmas last year but she woke up from an induced coma at the Warwick hospice and has since regained some of her mobility and independence

Trish Matthews and her family.
Trish Matthews and her family.

Rotarians in Leamington are encouraging people to donate to their Trees of Light fundraising campaign for the Myton Hospices this Christmas so the charity can continue to help people like Trish Matthews.

Trish, 67, was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer in the summer of 2020 and developed sepsis after her second round of chemotherapy and immunotherapy a few months later.

She was taken to the Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire where she was put into a medically induced coma and put on a ventilator.

The Leamington Tree of Light.

Due to Covid-19 her family weren’t allowed to visit and on December 23, 2020, they were told that Trish was not responding, her organs had failed and it was suggested that Trish was admitted to Myton Hospice.

She later discovered that hospital staff didn’t expect her to live for more than a couple of days.

Trish arrived at the Warwick Myton Hospice on Christmas Eve; her son, daughter and husband Steve met one of the doctors and were advised to let her rest for a couple of days and see how her body would respond.

Trish was still in an induced coma and doesn’t remember much from the first few days of being at Myton but her family were able to see her.

The Whitnash Tree of Light.

Her husband said they immediately had complete trust in the doctors and nurses looking after her.

When Trish regained consciousness she still had an infection and was completely paralysed but she recalls waking up to a Myton nurse in a Christmas hat.

On New Year’s Eve the physiotherapy and occupational therapy team started to work with her on regaining some of her mobility and independence.

At this point Trish couldn’t move even to feed herself.

The team worked with her on strengthening her muscles and regaining some movement, every day, twice a day.

When Trish was discharged on her birthday in March, she could move her arms and feet, sit independently and transfer herself from the bed to her wheelchair and commode.

Praising the staff at the hospice, Trish said: "They keep your spirits up and are always smiling and happy.

"They listen to you and they do things your own family would do like surprising me by putting up bunting on my birthday.

"They gave me relaxing Jacuzzi baths, they did my hair, shaved my legs and helped me to be the best I could be.

"They give you hope and confidence.

"When I used my wheelchair independently for the first time the nurses sang and danced in the corridor. These funny, joyous moments helped me to feel much more positive about my future."

Members of the Rotary Club of Royal Leamington Spa are again aiming to raise thousands of pounds for the Myton Hospices through their Christmas Trees of Light campaign in Leamington and Whitnash.

Everyone is invited to have the names of their absent loved ones displayed on lists around the towns and dedicating a light on one of the two giant Christmas trees at Leamington town hall or outside St Margaret's church, by making donations which go directly to The Myton Hospices to support their hospices in Warwick, Coventry and Rugby and the services they provide to the surrounding areas.