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Graham's Story Graham Jones enjoying gig at Download Festival

Graham’s Story: “Life is positive with Weldmar – I live with my condition, not against it”

19th July 2023


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Rock music is a huge part of Graham Jones’ life. Every year, the first thing he adds to his calendar is the Download Festival, the UK’s biggest rock music event, but when Graham was in hospital in July 2022 after having been diagnosed with terminal cancer, he didn’t believe he would be able to go there again.

But he did. In early June 2023, he set off with a good friend to the spiritual home of rock with the ambition by seeing Metallica play live. “They might be getting on a bit,” says Graham, “but they were awesome and can still smash out the hits!”

Graham, by his own admission, would not have been able to consider going had it not been for the support and care provided by Weldmar Hospicecare.

He is seen regularly by Weldmar Community Nurse (Lucy Moxham) and Assistant Practitioner (Debby Dewland) from the charity’s community nursing team, and Sarah Hunter, Allied Health Professional Assistant Practitioner, part of our team of physiotherapists and occupational therapists. “I can’t knock the treatment and care I’ve received,” explains Graham, “because it’s been amazing. Every time I’ve had a question it’s been answered, any time I’ve had worries they’ve reassured me, and they’ve taken away a lot of the fears, and given me feedback on everything I’ve been going through. To find out everything that’s been available has been amazing.”

Graham also uses Weldmar Connect, which is our charity app that keeps the clinical team up to date with his symptoms. “I can record on there how my day has been and how I’m feeling. It’s a really good way of keeping them up to date as it can change from day to day, both my physical and mental health.”

The Download Festival takes place at Donington Park in Leicestershire, and Graham says it’s always been really important for him. “I go every year. It wasn’t on during Covid, and then when I was in hospital last year, to think I would be getting to the next one, and miss out on it, was a really sad point in my life. You get these negative myths in your head – I’ve got cancer, so I can’t do stuff. Actually, I’ve got cancer, I can still do stuff. I spoke to Weldmar about it, who put an infrastructure in place and created a care package to allow me to go.”

Graham's Story Graham on wheelchair going to Download FestivalOne of the best things for Graham was the wheelchair that Weldmar arranged for him. It was green. It matched his beard!

“We got there on the Wednesday and were able to enjoy the whole festival atmosphere. I was in a disabled camping zone, which was immense. I couldn’t believe what they put on for disabled people there. We could go around the festival village, and enjoy some comedy as well as live bands. I wanted to be in the same pitch in the arena that I am every year. I see people who I see every year who live all over the county, we don’t see each other at any other time, but we all get to this same spot and they’re my Download family.

“Weldmar gave me the positive attitude, the positive vibes that told me I could still do it. A feeling that it’s not going to be an issue, you can go and we’ll do everything we can to help you. I think I had just as much fun this time around as I had previously, and if it wasn’t for the help and encouragement it wouldn’t have happened. Having the reassurance that even if I’m there and something went wrong, I could just pick up the phone and Weldmar would have made sure everything was going to be alright. They made me feel as though I was going to be safe.”

Of course, whilst going to the Download Festival has been the icing on the cake, Graham is helped on a more regular basis by Lucy, Debby, and Sarah.

Sarah’s role helps Graham to maintain his independence, with practical advice on how to continue doing day-to-day tasks, as well as identifying equipment and aids that would help with this. As well as the wheelchair for Download, one of Graham’s most valued aids has been a piece of equipment to help him get in and out of the bath easily and safely.

“Sarah makes me chuckle, she really makes me laugh! I can get up in the morning and feel pretty miserable because I’ve had a bad night, but as soon as she walks through that door, that atmosphere just changes. With Lucy and Debby – their support has been amazing. I say I’ve got a problem, they’ll look into it. They’ll speak to Dr Peter if they need to. Nothing’s too small and nothing’s too big for them, and anytime I have an issue with anything to do with my health they are straight on it. I’ve described a problem in the morning and by the afternoon a prescription will be ready for me.

“But Weldmar’s not just about the care you get at home. There’s a whole community out there which you can tap into, which Weldmar provides, such as art therapy which I’ve been to. I didn’t realise how much Weldmar provide – I thought it was just a case of people coming in, checking you’re ok, and seeing you through t the end of your life. But it’s not. It’s about making your life better, they drive you forward and keep you going. It’s all about improving quality of life. Graham’s story really shows how Weldmar can change its patient’s life and how supported patients feel.

“If I can do it, then so can others. We’ve got to be a community and encourage each other. They encouraged me so maybe I can encourage others.”

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