Our care and support Your stories Your story: Sue changes perceptions Sue Ash is a patient who is on a mission: to change the Island’s perception about hospice care. A regular visitor to the John Cheverton Centre, Sue explains why she wants to dispel the fears people may have about visiting Mountbatten. "In the late 1990s, I developed Multiple Sclerosis (MS), which unfortunately led to me giving up my job as a Primary School teacher. I was having problems with my balance, and the children could run faster than I could! I then went on to develop ankylosing spondylitis and osteoporosis, which meant I was having to spend much of my time in a wheelchair. In November 2014, I went to Australia to visit my son and daughter. Unfortunately, I fell as I was trying to get out of the 4x4 car into my wheelchair. There didn’t seem to be much damage at the time, but the next day I slipped in the shower and broke my humerus. My daughter, a nurse practitioner in the local surgery, got me to hospital where the x-ray showed that the humerus was not just broken – it was shattered. This rang alarm bells, and further tests and scans showed that I had breast cancer which had spread to the bone. Doctors wanted to start radiotherapy, but I wanted to return to the UK to start treatment. We managed to ‘escape’ from the hospital, got a flight home and pitched up at St Mary’s Hospital where I had nine weeks of radiotherapy treatment. When I was discharged, I was asked if I would like to have physiotherapy twice a week, which I readily agreed to despite being apprehensive. I knew the treatment would be at the John Cheverton Centre and I’d had a friend at the hospice who had, unfortunately, died very quickly. However, I have been very surprised and delighted at how welcoming everyone has been. Everyone takes notice of you; you’re not just a number to be treated.” Sue visits the John Cheverton Centre twice a week, and not only uses the gym for physiotherapy but also enjoys having her hair done at the hairdressers, having a massage and a manicure. She also plays a mean game of Scrabble! She is very keen to dispel the fears that people have shown when she tells them she is going to the John Cheverton Centre for treatment: They have assumed I must be on my last legs! To prove them wrong, and to increase awareness that the hospice is not just for cancer, I’m going to do a number of challenges to raise funds. I started with the Santa Dash and my husband’s cousin has just completed a walk from the Tennyson Memorial in Lincoln to the Tennyson Memorial on the Isle of Wight – a distance of some 300 miles. I’m planning a sky dive and a zip-wire ride and also hoping to be able to go sailing, all in my wheelchair and all to raise money for the work of Mountbatten.