Alice Johnson was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016. She received specialist palliative care and counselling from City Hospice until she passed away peacefully, aged 36, in February 2020.
Alice loved being part of her very close family, particularly enjoying cuddling up together to watch Christmas films, and doting on her nephew Logan. Making friends wherever she went, Alice could often be found socialising at quiz nights, brunches and spa weekends.
After enjoying various roles, Alice was excited to embark on a new career in 2015. However, shortly after starting her job with a leading financial advisory firm, Alice found that the abdominal issues she had been experiencing were getting worse. Concerned by the severity of her symptoms and getting no further with GP visits, her parents arranged a private consultation. Alice was sadly diagnosed with bowel cancer.
Alice began counselling with City Hospice between having bowel surgery and starting chemotherapy. Alice’s mum Linda said: “The regular counselling sessions at the hospice helped Alice to process her diagnosis and its impact on her life.”
Her family also had access to the charity’s counselling services which they describe as vital.
Linda said: ““To support Alice through her illness, I also needed someone to talk to who understood and could prepare us for the difficult times that were to come. The counselling I received from City Hospice helped me to stay strong for Alice. I was there for all her medical appointments, I sat with her during chemo, I listened to her worries; always knowing I had people there to help me through it all. As well as this, I knew that City Hospice was there to support the rest of my family, which took a huge weight off my shoulders.”
City Hospice liaised with Alice’s GP and Velindre, easing Alice through some difficult times. As the cancer spread, Alice was also assisted by the charity’s specialist palliative care team, particularly Dr Capel, who proved invaluable.
Linda said: “As a Clinical Lead and Consultant, Dr Capel was perfectly positioned to help Alice process medical information and allow her to broach difficult questions in a kind and understanding way. The hospice was a welcoming, safe place for Alice, away from the clinical, scary hospital rooms. I will always be grateful for the relationship Alice had with Dr Capel and the team.”
Remembering her daughter, Linda said: “I was so proud of Alice. Following her diagnosis, she always looked for positive things to come from it. She wrote a funny and frank article in the company’s magazine, shared her story on social media, and allowed a medical student to closely follow and document her journey. She also held a quiz night to raise money for City Hospice.
“It was important to her that people knew that bowel cancer does affect young people. She hoped that sharing her story would give patients confidence and give the medical profession a better understanding to help improve the experience of future patients.
“Alice was on the organ-donor register and was disappointed that the cancer had likely made her organs unsuitable for donation. She was so pleased when Dr Capel told her that her corneas might be viable. A few months after Alice passed away, we were thankfully informed that her corneas were indeed viable and had given sight to two women.”
A donation made during the Light Up A Life campaign will make a world of difference to a family facing terminal illness in the community. To donate, visit http://www.cityhospice.org.uk/star-in-the-sky/ or call 02920 524 150.