“IT’S an honour to do the job I do and to help people through the most difficult time of their lives,” says Jo Bond, the Brighouse nurse who is the face of the Marie Curie charity campaign in Calderdale.
“The patients and relatives I come into contact with are special people.”
Jo has been a Marie Curie nurse since 1991 and is dedicated to the care of terminally ill patients. For her the rewards of the job are helping people to die with dignity in their own homes if that is their wish. Having helped to nurse her own parents when they were very ill she has a profound understanding of the difficulties facing patients and their families at a very stressful time.
“I know I can’t make my patients better but I know I can make a difference to them while they are dying. They are on a very difficult journey and I feel I can make a difference. Most people want to die in their own homes but that can place quite a burden on relatives. That’s where Marie Curie nurses can help.”
Jo is part of team of Marie Curie nurses and health care assistants providing care in the community across Calderdale. Most of her work is at night with a shift starting at 10pm and finishing at 7am.
“Nights are often a bad time for patients with cancer. I am there so that relatives can get a break and a good night’s sleep. A lot of what I do is helping to make the patients comfortable, whether it’s giving them a drink or medication, or talking to them or keeping them company.”
Though most of Jo’s work is with cancer patients, she also helps people who dying from a range of other conditions including Parkinson’s, heart disease, motor neurone disease and, increasingly, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
“Each patient is different with different needs. Some people live alone and have no-one to care for them, some have close family.”
It costs £20 for Marie Curie Cancer Care to provide an hour’s nursing. The charity is in the middle of a major appeal to raise £80,000 to fund the care of terminally ill patients in Calderdale.
The charity’s hospice in Bradford opened in 2001, offering free medical treatment and nursing care to people with cancer and other terminal illnesses, but since 2004 it has been campaigning for more patients to be able to make the choice to be cared for and die at home.
The job of a Marie Curie nurse is a true vocation - and Jo says she finds the work immensely rewarding. She lives with her husband Philip at Halifax Road, has two daughters, Hannah, aged 22, and Sarah, 20, and is a keen gardener in her spare time.
“My job is very fulfilling. I love my work and it is a privilege to work with patients and their families and help them cope,” said Jo.
l Anyone who can help with fundraising activities should contact Ann Hodgson, community fundraiser, on 01274 337035.