Catherine, 55, has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer of the central nervous system. She lives in southwest London with her 14 year old twins.

I heard about Trinity when I was an inpatient at the Royal Marsden Hospital and preparing to come home. I wasn’t scared about hospices – my Mum was a volunteer at St Christopher’s Hospice for over 25 years - so I knew I’d be well looked after.

But there were still things I didn’t know. When one of Trinity’s specialist community nurses, EJ, came to visit me at home, she told me all about the activities available in outpatients. It was a revelation! Physical, mental, practical support…it’s all there. If you need help, you will get it - no matter what it is.

At the beginning, I had reflexology which helped afford some relief from the pain caused both by my cancer and chemotherapy. I attended a series of exercise classes with the physiotherapists, which helped me strengthen my legs: my illness rendered me unable to walk unless I used a walking frame. Now I’m back to walking normally, almost! I also had some one to one counselling to help deal with the emotional impact of cancer to my life.

After I finished counselling, I joined a weekly art therapy group which I absolutely love! I’ve discovered painting with acrylics which is such a freeing experience. It always lifts my spirits and helps me to momentarily forget about all the rubbish going on in my life. As a member of the Patient Liaison Group, we organised an amazing art therapy exhibition which was an extremely uplifting experience for all the patients involved.

I’ve got to know the other people in the group and we have become firm friends. Now we meet in the café beforehand for a chat and a laugh as well as lovely food and lots of tea! We have grown to trust each other and feel comfortable enough to talk openly about what is going on in our lives. It really helps to talk to other people who can relate to what you are going through and we offer each other a lot of love and support.

Marsha, Trinity’s Welfare Benefits Adviser, has helped me get the benefits I was entitled to, like PIP and ESA. She got me a Freedom Pass, a Blue Card for parking and a taxi card to help with my travel. She is also helping me to get some debts written off. I didn’t know about any of these things before going to see her.

Now I’m even a member of Trinity’s community choir. I’d sung in choirs before but my voice has become a slightly croaky from the chemotherapy. I wasn’t sure if I could sing again, but I can. Singing at the Christmas Light Up a Life Concert was such a positive and exhilarating experience.

I think the hospice is an amazing place and I always look forward to coming here. Everyone is so lovely and kind, there is always a friendly face. Every time I arrive at the hospice, I immediately think “And breathe…and relax!”