A Derby County supporter who works as a registered nurse for leading end-of-life charity Treetops Hospice has been surprised with her name on the club’s community wall.
Lisa Rutter’s husband Danny wanted to honour his wife’s achievements, particularly during the pandemic. Having heard about Derby County Community Trust’s plans to pay homage to fans on a dedicated area outside Pride Park Stadium, he nominated her for a space on the ‘1884 Wall’ for Lisa and she was chosen as one of the deserving winners.
The Derby County Community Trust, the charitable arm of the Championship football club, has raised more than £11,000 from the project, which will go towards funding the Sensory Room used by Lisa’s son, Charlie, who has Autism.
Lisa who lives in Derby with her husband Danny and children, Charlie (14), Ellie (12) and 10-year-old Harry said:
“It was such a lovely surprise to see my name on the wall.
“Danny and I, plus the two boys, have season tickets to watch Derby – Ellie comes along occasionally – and the Derby County Community Trust have helped us out enormously as a family; as well as using the Sensory Room, Charlie also participates in their Tackle It group which supports young men with their mental wellbeing. They go paintballing and talk about their feelings. It has been such a great help to Charlie, who’s made so many friends through the scheme.
“Going to watch Derby County is something which we love to do as a family. Charlie in particular lives and breathes Derby County and watching the Rams, seeing him waving his black and white flag around, makes me quite emotional; Pride Park Stadium is Charlie’s happy place.
“During the Covid pandemic, when football was played behind closed doors, we really missed it. We missed the matchday ritual and the other fans who sit close to us.”
Lisa has worked as a Treetops Hospice at Home nurse for the last five years. She is one of over forty nurses and health care assistants who help care for patients at the very end of life in their own homes, a role she finds incredibly rewarding.
“You wouldn’t always think about it with end of life care, but Treetops is such a positive and supportive place to work.
“When I go into patients’ homes, I feel like I’m making a difference to them and their families at one of the most difficult times of their lives. To be able to help them at this time, whether it’s managing symptoms, providing medication or just talking to them and holding their hand, it’s a true privilege.
“We’re there for families, just as much as the patient. It gives them time to go and have a rest and a good sleep that they need, knowing that their loved one is being looked after. This is the most rewarding job I’ve ever had.”
The pandemic was ‘the toughest time’ of her career.
Lisa whose favourite Derby County player is forward Colin Kazim-Richards said:
“Looking back, it all seems a little surreal, when the country first went into lockdown in March 2020, we were on the frontline as hospice nurses. We had to go out there – and we wanted to go out there – but it was quite frightening.
“There was no vaccine, lots of people were in hospital very poorly and we were visiting vulnerable people in their homes kitted out in full PPE. We were wearing masks for up to nine hours a night and there was a lot of uncertainty. It was the toughest couple of years of my career.
“Myself, Danny and Ellie all caught Covid in May 2020 and it wasn’t nice; Treetops were very supportive and sent us a hamper of food, as we couldn’t leave the house for groceries.”
Lisa is also conscious of how the pandemic has affected her children, she concluded:
“As a keyworker, the children were given places at school, which we were very grateful for, but all three of them have missed key milestones.
“All three are doing well now, though, and people lost loved ones during Covid; that kind of puts everything into perspective.
“We’re thankful that, now that restrictions have been eased, we can return to some kind of normality and for us, that involves watching Derby County – and seeing my name on the 1884 Wall always brings a smile to the face.”
The Treetops Hospice at Home team offers nursing and emotional support for terminally-ill patients in their own homes. Overnight one-to-one care gives families and carers the chance to have a good night’s sleep, while a few hours during the day, gives carers a break to go shopping or have time for themselves.
All Treetops services are provided free of charge and are not means-tested. Further information is available by contacting the Hospice at Home team on 0115 949 6940 or firstname.lastname@example.org or by heading to the Treetops website www.treetops.org.uk.