Sunday, 26 May 2024
Sunday, 26 May 2024

Can you support this family with a short respite holiday? (A time-sensitive appeal)

A 48-year-old mother of two Sam Pickersgill from Newton on Trent was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020 and received treatment for her condition. 

Following a kick to the head from a horse in December 2021, Sam was brought in for a brain scan, which found progressive brain and leptomeningeal disease, limiting her life expectancy significantly.

Sam was referred to St Barnabas Hospice in January 2022 for psychological support and future planning to help her with the emotional difficulties and uncertainties that came with her diagnosis.

Mary Hall, a Specialist Nurse Practitioner and Katie Lyon, a Health and Rehabilitation Support Worker from St Barnabas, took over her wellbeing and care planning in April.

They arranged for Sam to receive counselling, giving her a crucial safe space to talk about what she was feeling and what was happening to her and her family. They have also supported Sam in maintaining a level of independence with equipment to help her around the home.

Can you support this family with a short respite holiday? (A time-sensitive appeal)

Sadly, in July 2022, after enjoying a family holiday to Lanzarote, Sam was given the dreadful news that the metastasis had progressed further in the brain and leptomeningeal and that she is at high risk of sudden death.

Mary has played a crucial role in helping Sam and her husband Ro discuss the serious topic of Sam’s limited time with their children. The family feels that Mary helps them work through the difficult emotions and practicalities and supports them in finding the positive things in life.

Sam says: “Mary has been incredible; I don’t know how our family would have been able to handle this situation if we didn’t have her. She has kept me going and supported us throughout, from telling the children to organising my funeral and making sure it’s exactly how I want to be remembered.

“Mary made me realise I could take control of the situation and organise some wonderful times for everyone to remember and enabling me to spend my days comfortably at home around Ro, Hattie and Dominic.”

Can you support this family with a short respite holiday? (A time-sensitive appeal)

Mary has helped Sam facilitate a personalised care and support plan, with open discussions about what is important to Sam and the whole family. Financial support has also been given through the Welfare and Benefits team, as well as helping Sam list her final wishes. This is all part of the Advanced Care Planning that St Barnabas offers to patients and their families so they can focus on what’s really important to them – making the most of whatever time remains.

It was the couple’s 23rd Wedding Anniversary on Sunday 14th August. Unfortunately, Sam was too unwell to attend a family meal; however, later that day, local legend Dan Hadfield performed a private Gary Barlow tribute concert in her parent’s garden, which Sam enjoyed surrounded by family and close friends.

St Barnabas continues to offer Sam and the family psychological, emotional, physical and spiritual support when they need it.

Mary says: “When I first met Sam at her home, she threw her arms around me. From that point, I’ve seen her each week and have built a supporting relationship with the whole family. I have loved learning more about Sam the secondary school teacher, 14-year-old Hattie’s love of horses and 10-year-old Dominic’s obsession with Real Madrid.

“Sam has invested a lot of time supporting others in her life, and I feel it’s a privilege to do something in return to help her and her loved ones during this difficult time. St Barnabas will be with Sam when and where she needs us.

“We cannot change the outcome, but we can make every day count until then.”

Sam is fundraising to give Hattie and Dominic something to look forward to. Sam’s health makes it difficult for her to know day-to-day how she is going to feel, so she’s hoping that the family can do something for the children during such a difficult time.

Sam says: “I want to give the children memories to treasure.”

If you can support Sam and her family, please visit her GoFundMe page:

St Barnabas Hospice is hoping to find anyone who can support the family with a short respite holiday to allow the family to make the most of the time they have together.

Additionally, if you would like to support us find ways to treat Hattie with a horse experience, or Dominic with anything Real Madrid-related, please get in touch with St Barnabas Hospice via 01522 540 300 or by emailing


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