Mike’s Sunflower Memories Story
‘I am proud to plant a sunflower in Blythe House Hospicecare’s garden to celebrate the memory of my dear wife, Pat. I also wanted to donate towards the wonderful services that supported me in some of my darkest days following Pat’s death, and that continue to support me. ’
Mike Harrison founded the High Peak Prostate Cancer Support Group in 2010 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer three years earlier. The group meets monthly at Blythe House, chaired jointly by Mike in partnership with members of our dedicated staff team.
As well as being heavily involved in the group for many years now, the Chapel-en-le-Frith resident has also benefitted from other Blythe House services including counselling, the carers support group and complimentary therapies.
Mike was the main carer for his wife Pat for five years before she died in March 2018, and he was able to seek solitude and support at Blythe House.
He explains: ‘When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007 I felt very isolated and alone. I didn’t know about the disease or about treatments, and I found it very difficult to get information and advice. I decided that I would like to do something locally to provide information and support to people so they wouldn’t feel as lonely as I did.
‘The High Peak Prostate Cancer Support Group meets monthly and is free to come along to. On average around 20 people attend each sessions, including prostate cancer patients, their wives, girlfriends, partners and carers. Everyone is welcome to come along, for advice, support and friendship.
‘As well as prostate cancer group, I have also benefited hugely from coming along to the hospice’s carers support group. Coming to Blythe House to be able to have the opportunity to relax, unwind, give and receive support from local people in similar situations to myself was so worthwhile and made me feel so much less isolated. I felt better for coming to the group.
‘Following Pat’s death, and after all of the important tasks were complete like registering her death and organising the funeral, I honestly did wake up one morning and wonder what on earth I was going to do with myself, and what my purpose in life was anymore. Grief has been so very painful, I’ve been in some very dark places but Blythe House has been absolutely immense.
‘I’ve been having counselling sessions and they have given me my quality of life back. I have been able to speak the unspoken, and get stuff off my chest. The sessions have really helped me to rediscover what my life is and how to enjoy it again.’
Mike and Pat share four sons, who now live both locally and internationally with their respective families – he’s a proud grandparent to 12 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren!
He said: ‘I have a son who lives in New Zealand and so I thought “I am going to go and see my family! If they’ll have me of course!” So I enjoyed some quality time with him, as well as my granddaughter who lives in Japan on my way home. It was fantastic!
‘My story epitomises what Blythe House can offer to everyone – I am living proof for both patients and carers; Blythe House has been family to me, and has saved my life.’
Make a donation today to celebrate the life of someone you love whilst supporting Blythe House Hospicecare. Your personalised sunflower plaque will be planted in our garden for the month of May.
You can donate by calling the fundraising team on 01298 815 388, or via Just Giving on the link below. You can also pick up a form at Blythe House Reception, or any one of our hospice shops:
- Buxton – 6 Eagle Parade, SK17 6EQ
- Chapel-en-le-Frith, 12 High Street, SK23 0HD
- New Mills – 3 Union Road, SK22 3EL
- Whaley Bridge – 17-19 Market Street, SK23 7AA
Alternatively, download your own copy of the form at home, print, fill in and return to us via the address given: Sunflower Memories Appeal form PDF