Emily Efstathiou came along to Blythe House for work experience in November 2019, during her two-year Business course at Buxton College.

The 18-year old has written a blog about her week with the hospice, including why she decided to undertake work experience here:

I had heard about Blythe House from people who had raised funds for the charity, and I also found out more about the hospice and the services it provides when my Nan was referred to the Living Well service.

Emily with her Mum and Nan

My Nan was diagnosed with leukaemia quite a few years ago and she was able to live her life to the full for as long as she could, but then a couple of years ago she was diagnosed with a terminal cancer, which only gave her up to a year to live. I can’t imagine how shocked you would feel when you are diagnosed with cancer, knowing that you don’t have long to live and you think “what’s the point of carrying on, when there is no point?” So my family arranged for my Nan to start coming to Blythe House, to get her out and for her to feel at ease as living with cancer is very hard and can leave you feeling very down.

I used to chat with her about what she had been doing when she had visited Blythe House, and she used to really enjoy it. The hospice brought out a different side to her; she was never the most artistic but when she visited on a Tuesday, she would sit in the art room and bring her artistic side out that I never thought she had. She also received a variety of therapies as well which made her feel nice and relaxed and would make her feel nice about herself, she would show me her nails that the volunteer beautician would do for her, and she loved it. It made her feel at home visiting the hospice every week as every single staff member and volunteer is so kind, and she made plenty of friends with the other patients.

Emily’s Nan during her treatment

Yes it is hard for someone to walk through the door; they think they are weak by asking for help or even joining any hospice groups but when my Nan did step through the door I know she will have felt that she wasn’t alone and that she could talk about how she felt living with cancer. Sadly, she died in 2017, but she made great memories by going to Blythe House and even my mum and I have since! We have been to a couple of the events that Blythe house have held such as the Sunflower Memories Appeal and the Light up a Life service, and I am hoping to attend many more.

I decided to ask to come here for my work experience because in my future career, I want to deal with people but I’m not sure in what field yet. So, I decided to try out Blythe House as it is an amazing charity and I wanted to see if I want to deal with people with short-term illnesses, or life limiting illnesses.

Whilst I’ve been here I have visited every section of the hospice including the Information and Support Centre; meeting the nurses, and the Volunteer and Support Services team; I’ve worked in the charity shop in Whaley Bridge, been introduced to the Hospice at Home team and so much more! I have done a wide variety of activities, for example helping out at the coffee morning; I went along to a Vision Buxton marketing meeting at the Pavilion Gardens with a member of the hospice’s communications team; as well working on reception and plenty more!

The thing I have enjoyed the most about being here is meeting so many new people including the staff, volunteers and the patients, and hearing about everyone’s lives and reasons for supporting the charity; it has been truly inspirational. Hearing what everyone does to help to make the organisation the best it can be, it is incredible!

In the future, I am hoping to finish my last year of my studies and achieve the best grade, and hopefully get a job or apprenticeship job that I really enjoy.

I would definitely recommend either volunteering or having your work experience at Blythe House because it really opens up your mind. You are faced with the reality of end of life care, or life with an illness, and it makes you realise for me personally, that you want to really help those people in need.

Find out more about volunteering at Blythe House.