Stephen Reynolds, aged 55 from Trench in Telford, is one of the hundreds of people that give us the gift of time. He volunteers on a Thursday at our Telford Day Hospice.
Before he began helping out at our Apley Castle site, he had experienced first-hand the care provide at the Day Hospice when he was referred as a patient.
“In 2007 I had the bomb shell that I had bowel cancer,” says Stephen “I had an operation and six months of chemotherapy, it was pretty severe. I wasn’t given much time, my consultants said 18 months if I was lucky.”
“I was getting a little fed up at home looking at the same four walls so I asked if I could start coming to the Day Hospice in Telford. I duly arrived and it was great. Every Thursday I went to the hospice, it got me out the house. There was a good group of us and we all got on really well looking out for each other, it was inspiring. A few good friends passed away but the more I came the more it inspired me to keep going for both myself and my family.
“I got through the 18 months which was a step in the right direction. I never felt my time had come, don’t get me wrong there were times when I was really poorly but I never gave up.
After benefitting from the care provided at the Day Hospice, Stephen decided to give something back when he became well enough to do so.
“I came to the Day Hospice for three years and then Jeff, one of the social workers at the Hospice, asked if I would consider becoming a volunteer as I was well enough to stop coming as a patient. The hospice has helped me through a few difficult years so I felt it was payback time.
“I volunteer at the hospice on a Thursday so I finished as a patient and started as a volunteer doing all sorts of things. I’ve been here a while now, time does fly when you’re having fun. I felt volunteering was the least I could do. The hospice is somewhere I feel at ease. The effort everyone puts into making everyone comfortable and happy is great.”
Alongside his volunteering at the Hospice, Stephen also enjoys other voluntary roles and has become involved in local politics.
“I decided I was going to do what I wanted to do. I retired from Severn Trent where I had worked for 34 years and decided to do some work with the National Trust at Sunnycroft in Wellington; I’ve been there three years now. I also work at Blists Hill Museum doing all sorts and I am an examination invigilator.
“A couple of years ago I was asked if I would if I would consider standing to be a councillor for the local council. I was asked to be on the Town Council of Oakengates and the Parish Council of Trench and Wrockwardine Wood. I was duly appointed to both councils and that same year I was also deputy mayor of Oakengates. In 2012 I was appointed mayor of Oakengates and was lucky enough to attend the Queen’s Jubilee event at Cosford; it was a real honour to represent the people of Oakengates at such an event. I’m no longer mayor but I have a couple more years left as being a councillor.”
Stephen believes the Hospice has helped inspire him to pursue some of his goals since he was diagnosed back in 2007.
“People need to know the Hospice is something not to be frightened of, care and compassion is paramount. Everyone connected to the hospice places the patient first. I think a lot of people see the Hospice as the end of the line, a last resort but it’s not, there are a lot of people over the years that have recovered and are still with us leading good lives. The hospice is a place to inspire you to overcome your problems and put you in the right direction.
“Five and a half years later I’m still here trying to inspire whoever I can. I never really look back and honestly believe you can overcome most things if you are positive. I’m a positive person and try to instill that in other people.”