The 'beacon of light' that helped family through their 'darkest days'

Janet Snowden (far left) with her family, including partner Andy (far right)
-Credit: (Image: Nightingale House Hospice)

Relatives of two family members diagnosed with cancer who are cared for at the same hospice have spoken out about their "darkest days". The Snowden family described Nightingale House Hospice as a "beacon of light" and are calling for more funding for the sector.

Janet Snowden, 51, has been cared for by the team in Wrexham since she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2023. Her daughter Bethan Snowden, 24, said that the staff at the hospice have kept their family together during the hardest time of their lives.

She said: “We have been blown away by the amazing support from everyone at Nightingale House. Whether it’s mum or any of us who need something, there’s always someone there to help. Nightingale House has been a beacon of light during our darkest days. It’s provided us with more than just medical care – it’s been a home away from home, filled with love, music, and support."

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More recently Janet's father-in-law, Fred Snowden, 84, became a patient at the hospice following a cancer diagnosis. He said: "When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was very reluctant to even consider contacting Nightingale House Hospice as I was always led to believe you only went there to see your days out. However, after visiting my daughter-in-law, I was so impressed with everything and everyone. The staff are incredible.

“Nothing is ever too much trouble, any time, day or night, and always with a big smile on their faces. I honestly believe they've saved my life after I was brought here three weeks ago. With the help of everyone here, I'm now preparing to return home to my wife.” For the latest Welsh news delivered to your inbox sign up to our newsletter

Nightingale House costs £4.9m per year to run, and most of the running costs come from public support and donations. The hospice’s chief executive recently spoke of the challenges faced by hospices in Wales and called on the Welsh Government to ensure that a more secure, sustainable funding model is put in place.

Fred and his wife
Fred was recently diagnosed with cancer -Credit: Nightingale House Hospice

Janet’s partner, Andy Snowden, 54, echoed the chief executive's calls and pleaded with the Welsh Government to act quickly to secure the future of hospice care for patients. He said: “I am not sure how we would have got through this awful time without the support of the team at Nightingale House.

"It’s vital that the Welsh Government acts now to ensure that the level of care that Janet and my dad have received can continue.” A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We recognise the vital role that hospice and end of life care services play to support families at some of the most difficult times of their lives.

“We are committed to strengthening and improving end-of-life care to ensure everyone who needs hospice support can continue to receive dignified and personalised support, outside of hospital, and at the end of their lives. Last month, we allocated an additional £4 million to be shared amongst 12 commissioned hospices in Wales – including Nightingale House Hospice – helping them to maintain services, retain staff and improve end of life care support during the cost-of-living crisis.”