Danny's story

Kelli and I met at school in when we were just 14 years old, we went on to go to college together, have two children, and get married.

In 2022 Kelli became ill but initially the doctor didn’t think it was anything too sinister. She continued to feel unwell and collapsed in the shower one day I knew I needed to take her to hospital. After a CT, MRI, and a night’s stay we were told the severity of what was going on. It was a glioblastoma which is a highly aggressive form of brain cancer. We were devastated. It was just nine days until Christmas. Kelli was heartbroken, we both were. Although we were told that, on average, she may have another 15 months, she just knew that it was going to be her last Christmas. Our last one together as a family.

In the New Year we got Kelli’s biopsy results, the news that no family ever wanted to hear -  it was grade four and the worst case scenario, it was inoperable and the only thing to try was chemo and radiotherapy to give us a little more time. To give the boys, who were just aged 9 and 13, more time with their mum.
Kelli would get upset at home, she was too young to die. We thought we had so many more years ahead of us. How would any of us cope without her? It was too much to bear.

Kelli had expressed to me that she didn’t want to die at home but she didn’t want to die in hospital either and that she preferred the thought of being at Dove House. We’d had family and friends use the hospice’s services so it was familiar to us both.

After being quite unwell and having a number of hospital visits, we think from the chemo and radiotherapy lowering her immune system, Kelli went into hospital again in July just as the six weeks holiday started for the kids. We didn’t realise at the time but this was the start of the end for us. After a blood transfusion Kelli seemed to pick up but shortly after started to feel more and more unwell. We agreed then that she would stop treatment, it was making her too unwell so we knew then that our time was going to be short. It was at this time that Kelli was admitted to the hospice.
Once at Dove House Kelli started to feel much better and more comfortable at the hospice. She enjoyed the wonderful gardens, the boys did too when they came to visit their mum. I will never forget the kindness one of the caretakers showed our two boys by giving them some food to feed the fish in the amazing pond in the hospice gardens, the fish are huge and the boys really took a liking to them. It was such a small gesture but something that made such a difference to their visit and gave them a happy memory they could look back on.
The day after Kelli had had a really rough night and decided she didn’t want any visitors, the next night was the same but she agreed the boys could come in at the weekend.

​I called on Saturday to check how she was before setting off. She had taken a turn for the worst overnight. When I arrived at the hospice a doctor took me into the gardens and told me that she was dying and if there were people who wanted to see her before she goes that they needed to get there straight away. Soon Kelli's room was filled with those she loved and who loved her dearly. I could tell that Kelli knew that we were all there.

We stayed over at the hospice, which was incredible. To be able to be so close was such a relief. Everyone we met at Dove House was so nice. We felt looked after day and night, they honestly couldn’t have done more for us.

Kelli died at Dove House surrounded by her family, she was just 37 years old.

Our lives will never be the same without Kelli, she leaves a huge hole in our hearts. Since she died we have managed to raise £10,000 for Dove House. Kelli chose the hospice and they did everything they could for us and more. We saw firsthand where the money goes, in everything the hospice did for us as a family. We are forever thankful they were there when we needed them.