Sheena Dayman took part in the St Barnabas Hospice Colour Dash to raise money for the Hospice who had cared for her beloved son, Simon.
In her own words, Sheena writes about her experience, her loss and how St Barnabas supported her through such difficult times.
Sheena said “Joy has always been part of my life, but in November 2016 when my son, Simon aged 34, was diagnosed with a terminal illness, it took on a whole new meaning. It was very sudden and a shock to discover that the original melanoma had spread extensively including to his brain. It could be weeks or months depending on treatment before he died.
“I decided I would choose joy, and Simon began his own campaign called ‘Choose Your Day’. He encouraged people every day, via Facebook, to consider what they had control over.
“I remember one day, whilst collecting his prescription for pain relieving injections, I walked around the Bailgate in Lincoln, asking in various shops for ‘joy,’ all the time fighting back my tears. In one amazing shop was a ‘joy’ sign with tasteful white light bulbs. This took pride of place in Simon’s home, and is now in Australia with his wife Katie and son Charlie.
“Simon’s treatment went well, and his original three months turned into almost eight months, giving us some time before Simon was admitted to St Barnabas.
“St Barnabas became our home for just over a week; nothing was a problem and I was able to move into the flat upstairs, with Katie sleeping in a bed next to Simon. I would come down early morning and Katie would go home to be in time for Charlie waking up, returning after the school run. My husband and other son joined us each day, ordering lunch on their way in. The food was amazingly served with such love and care.
“The care was exceptional in every way. The staff, realising that I was a woman of strong faith, weren’t too surprised when I said, “Do you know why I know Jesus is here? I can see his compassion in the gentle caring way you care for my son and us.”
“The day came when Charlie had to say goodbye, and St Barnabas managed this perfectly in so many ways, adjusting Simon’s drugs so he was awake enough, wheeling his bed out into the garden, enabling Charlie to play while seeing and talking to his dad.
“The entire experience for each family member, including Simon, was one of peace. The beautiful environment created by the rooms overlooking the garden, the Cathedral chiming in the background and the warm summer sun were all blessings. As Simon drifted away, the peace filled every inch of the place. We shall be eternally grateful to all that made it happen that way.
“When Katie advised me in May 2018 that she had signed up for the Colour Dash with Charlie, I joined without hesitation. It had been a sudden decision for all of us, but in a few weeks we raised around £700. We just wanted to give something back in appreciation.
“We embraced the fun side and, although it was very emotional, we made it round the 5k. The back of our t-shirts said, ‘Choose Your Day’, and, ‘Husband, Son and Dad’. Charlie’s little legs struggled early on, but the bouncy castles ahead were a great motivator. We were explaining to him what St Barnabas was all about and he said, “My daddy died in there.” I can still remember the heartbreak that caused. However, after reminding Charlie of the great way his daddy was cared for, the joy returned. I said, “Today we are helping to raise money to make sure that lots of other people are also well cared for.”
This year’s Colour Dash takes place on Saturday 14th May, with the Hospice asking supporters to take part and collectively raise £150,000 for local hospice care. The year is extra special, as St Barnabas is also celebrating their 40th anniversary of providing care to the people of Lincolnshire.
Sheena added, “This year is also very special for me because, as well as it being St Barnabas Hospice’s 40th birthday, it is also Simon’s 40th birthday.”
To take part in the Colour Dash, visit www.stbarnabashospice.co.uk/colourdash