Hege, 47 years old, and originally from Bergen in Norway, has worked as a nanny here for 16 years. She lives in Balham with her husband and three boys (aged 6, 9 and 11). In 2010, Hege was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has been receiving care in Trinity’s inpatient unit.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was pregnant with my youngest, so about six and a half years ago now. I had a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy which made the cancer go away but then it came back again in 2014. Since then it has spread and became terminal.

About a year ago I started coming to the hospice as an outpatient. When I was very poorly in hospital they said I was welcome to come to the hospice but I said I wasn’t interested. Then somebody said “And you could do artwork there” and I was like “When can I come to that? Is it open to me?”. I really wanted to try it so I came in and I started coming to the Creative Art Group on Fridays. I really loved it.

When I first came to the hospice it was very different from what I’d expected. It was a hundred times better. I’ve now been staying in the inpatient unit for a couple of weeks. This place is amazing. My husband can stay with me and my three boys visit me here every day. Hospices are not dark and dingy. We feel like we’ve bought two tickets and we’ve landed somewhere beautiful.

I’ve spent a lot of time doing artwork in my room. I probably do it every other day. I sometimes make cards or I paint on canvases. If I’m painting I need a bit longer to get organised but I can make cards for all sorts of occasions quite quickly. I use lots of glitter in my creations. And the nurses can confirm that it does get everywhere! I just love making things.

But I can’t make hundreds of canvases for no reason. I wanted to raise money for Royal Trinity Hospice. So I sell them to my visitors but I just let people pay whatever they want to because some people have lots of money and some people haven’t. Whether its 50p or £500, it’s up to them.

When people visit me they often ask me “Should I bring some flowers?” and I say “No, don’t bring flowers, bring art materials, like pritt-sticks, canvases…” And they say “Are you sure?!” And I say “Yes, just leave the flowers where they are. It’s not fair to pull them up and after a week they’re going to die.” Art lasts forever.

The staff here have so much time for us. I had a reflexology massage yesterday. It was very relaxing. It makes you feel so good that people are really caring for you. It’s been the same with the food. The chef, James, will always make something different for me to eat if I want it. I’ve asked for fish and chips a few times and one time I asked for some rice and straight away he made me some.

I have always raised money for charity. Last year I did a lot for cancer charities. I ran a 5K, two 10K’s and a full marathon. On the Thursday I had chemo and on the Sunday I ran the marathon. I hadn’t trained at all because I’d been too poorly. My mother and father came over from Norway and the kids were there. My husband said “Just run a little bit, take some pictures and say that you did your best”. And I said “You must be joking, I’m doing it.” And somehow I got through it! Now my goal is to run it again to raise money for Royal Trinity Hospice next year.”

Hege running to raise money for charity