Barry started to attend Blythe House in early 2019, after an advanced prostate cancer diagnosis that came ‘right out of the blue.’ The former project manager who trained as an architect found huge solace in the hospice’s art therapy, exploring his emotions to create a personal and impactful portfolio of work.
Following the last session of his programme at Blythe House, Barry, who’s from Whaley Bridge, explained: ‘I was attending The Christie Hospital for treatment and someone suggested getting some emotional support from Blythe House which is closer to home. I was in a bad place; when something like this happens, it’s a huge shock, and it came right out of the blue. There were big decisions to be made about the future and they were quite difficult to handle. It was a fundamental change in my life.
‘I first met Emma [Richards, Information and Support Facilitator], who referred me to the Living Well service where I met my key worker, Claire [Rimmer, Senior Nurse]. I’m not an emotional man usually but due to treatments, there was a big cloud hanging over me. What’s happened at Blythe House has been breath-taking; words are very easy to say but the nurses just recognised how I felt, angry and scared, and they responded to that. I have found it very liberating to come here; I can just be me.
‘I trained as an architect many years ago, but the artistic side of the job had drifted away from me and I was involved in the technical and admin side of the role, exchanging info between builders and contractors. I’ve always taken life quite seriously but lot of things took me back as a result of my diagnosis; I had a lot of questions – who are you? Who do you want to be?
‘The medication does have an effect on you and your emotions; you’re dealing with massive changes in life. The art that I’ve produced has stemmed away from work that I produced as part of my career, and become more creative and in-depth. I don’t have to hit any deadlines here, or have to liaise with any consultants. Catherine [Serjeant, Creative Art Coordinator] said to me: “Barry, you’ve been with too many high powered for too long!” I have created a portfolio of work, developed my skills base and explored all my emotions – it’s very powerful stuff. My time at Blythe House has been life-changing, quite literally.
‘Tuesdays are always going to be a special day for me; I am going to continue with my artwork, I’ve got that discipline in my life now. Blythe House is such a comfort; I know that when push comes to shove, they’ll always be here to help me.’