david's story

David Johnson was a larger than life character. A hairdresser by trade he had raised money for Havens Hospices by hosting tea parties in his garden and having a collection tin at his salon in Southchurch as well as by dressing up and taking part in Southend Carnival. In July 2015 David was diagnosed with cancer in his lung and it later spread to his neck and brain. After a brief stay in hospital he was referred to Fair Havens Hospice.

“I knew about Fair Havens Hospice because I had raised money for them but I was terrified of coming in as my diagnosis hadn’t been explained to me. When I was given the diagnosis they said it had touched my brain and that was the only information the hospital gave me and I was so terrified that I would lose everything, lose my friends, lose my memory and the hospice put me straight within two hours of being in here.

“The Doctor explained to me that it was at the front lobe of the brain which operates the feelings, the senses and the emotions and that’s why I was feeling anxious and sad and happy all in one go. She explained what the long term effects would be which weren’t as serious as I thought, which helped me a lot.

“I am glad to be in here, it’s like a five star hotel! The nurses come in and introduce themselves and they treat me normally and with dignity. Havens is incredible, with the little amount of money they are on and the service they give is fantastic - the love that I’ve been shown.

“I think the hospice has got the reputation of being a sad, dying place, but it’s a happy cheerful place and it doesn’t make you feel like you are terminally ill. It makes you feel positive and cared for.

“My friends can’t believe how happy it is. I laugh and joke with the nurses and they can’t believe what we say to each other, the fun we’ve had.

“Within a few hours of getting into Fair Havens I felt like my old self had come back and I thank Fair Havens."

David died at his home on 11th September 2015. We are sharing his story with his blessing.

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