Leela's Story


Leela started visiting the WoodGrange Day Centre a year ago, after being diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease. Leela has benefited from a number of services at St Luke’s Hospice.

“My aim and ambition in life was to become a nurse. That’s all I wanted to do. I worked for the NHS for 47 years with the last 15 years at Northwick Park Hospital.

I fell ill three years ago. My colleagues noticed that I wasn’t walking straight. I knew then that something was wrong with my right leg. I went from walking with a stick, to a Zimmer frame and then into a wheelchair – all within nine months. I now have no use of my hands and need to be fed by someone.

Since my diagnosis, I have been at home and my husband, until recently, was my full-time carer. It all got too much and he couldn’t cope."

Leela was referred to St Luke’s Hospice Woodgrange Day Services Centre a year ago.

"When I heard that St Luke’s Hospice could help me, with my illness, I said ‘yes’ straight away.

The staff at the Woodgrange Day Centre are so welcoming and so are the volunteers. The two nurses, Alison and Caroline, took such great interest in me. The staff are so caring and attentive. If you need a pillow, you don’t even have to ask.

One memory I have was when the weather was good, I asked the nurse, Caroline, to take me outside. I said: ‘Put me in the sun, and I’ll be alright.’  The nurse ended up giving me a whole tour of the garden. Things like that you just don’t forget.

“I have never missed a Wednesday at Woodgrange Day Centre. I really look forward to coming.”

The minute I enter St Luke’s Hospice, I hear: ‘How are you Leela?’ It’s wonderful. You can tell the nurses are giving care from their hearts. Everyone is treated equally. The staff give as much as they possibly can give.

Leela with volunteer

I have been having the acupuncture for the last year and it really helped my joints. I also enjoy having some massage therapy. I have a shoulder and back rub. It’s amazing that volunteers are giving their services for free. You can’t ask for more than that.

“I wish I had retired earlier; so I could have come to St Luke’s Hospice to volunteer.”

I also attend the physiotherapy sessions and my husband too, comes to St Luke's for monthly physiotherapy sessions (for carers), which I am grateful for.

After visiting Woodgrange Day Centre, I notice my mental health improves for at least the whole week afterwards. Visiting St Luke’s Hospice really gives me a lift. I enjoy the quizzes and the bingo which are on offer. The quiz helps me to test my memory. I have won the bingo once!

There are lots of other activities such as making jewellery, arts, tea and cakes. I enjoy sitting next to different people each time I visit. I love to hear their stories.

I was very depressed at one stage, but my religion has helped me focus. I look forward to visiting the Day Centre every two weeks. I still have strength in my heart, I am not finished.”