‘Spring Centre nurse Liz is just like family to me’ says cancer patient Matt

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A pub cricket team has donated the proceeds of a charity cricket match to the hospice that is helping its captain to recover from major cancer surgery.

Regulars at The George pub in Berkhamsted raised £1,250 from the friendly fixture, which was attended by more than 100 family and friends.

Matt Marshall presented a cheque for money raised through a cricket match to specialist Hospice of St Francis nurse Liz Duro. PNL-140603-142358001

Matt Marshall presented a cheque for money raised through a cricket match to specialist Hospice of St Francis nurse Liz Duro. PNL-140603-142358001

Their grateful skipper Matt Marshall visited The Hospice of St Francis to hand over the cheque to Liz Duro, a clinical nursing specialist in the hospice’s community nursing team.

Liz has been visiting and supporting Matt at his home for the last eight months.

Matt, 41, who thought he had indigestion until he was diagnosed with advanced cancer of the oesophagus last July, said: “Hospice and palliative care were the words I never wanted to hear.

“But I realised now I had no idea what hospices do. They’re about support, help, caring and sharing and the Hospice of St Francis has been the support structure that’s helped me through the most difficult time of my life.

“Throughout my chemotherapy treatment in August and September, during and since major surgery to remove the tumour, along with a part of my stomach and lower oesophagus last November, I’ve attended the hospice’s Spring Centre regularly for support, acupuncture and physiotherapy as an outpatient and Liz has phoned and visited me regularly, helping to manage my symptoms, control my pain, give me practical advice and psychological support.

“I live alone. My parents live up in Bridlington in Yorkshire – so Liz has been the family I don’t have on the doorstep. She’s been amazing.”

The Spring Centre offers free health and wellbeing support and opportunities for those recently diagnosed or living with serious illness. There’s also support on offer for carers, families and friends.

Nurse Liz said: “Once Matt saw the potential of the Spring Centre, he’s been able to benefit from several of the services we offer, which is something we want to encourage others to do as early as possible in their diagnosis.

“His generous donation will enable us to continue to provide those services and reach the people who need our support the most.”

Matt, of Chiltern Park Avenue, Berkhamsted, added: “I’m just glad to be able to do my small bit to thank them and I’d like to thank the players, the 100 plus spectators on the day, everyone who donated auction and raffle prizes - especially James Carpentry, Berkhamsted Sports, Paul Casserley Insurance, Trade Signs in Tring and Berkhamsted Cricket Club for loaning us their pitch for free.”

It is hoped that the fundraiser will become an annual event for the hospice, which relies on voluntary donationes for more than 80 per cent of its running costs.

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