Peter Anderson’s wife Katie was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2004 and was given 3 months to live. Through her own determination, Peter’s amazing support and care, and medical interventions including new drugs only on trial in America, Katie lived for four more years. The hospice became involved at an early stage and the whole family received counselling – their counsellor, Joy Cadwallader, became ‘part of the family’. In Peter’s interview, he talks with extraordinary frankness about the many precious and special moments the family had in those four years, his fight for treatments for Katie, and the continuous support of St Richard’s. Sometime after Katie’s death, Peter trained as a counsellor and is currently active in various groups supporting the work of the hospice.
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Peter and Katie met at school in the table tennis club. They married in 1974 and moved to Droitwich in the mid 1980s. They had two daughters, Rachel and Naomi. Pictures of Katie fill the family house – she is talked about every day, and in the first part of this extract, Peter describes his wife. In the second part he talks about her final days – Katie was one of the first patients to be admitted to the new hospice at Wildwood.
The whole family started having counselling with the hospice staff from the moment Katie was diagnosed. Peter talks about how their counsellors became part of the family and fitted the sessions around their busy lives, sometimes talking to Peter over the phone during business trips abroad. In the following extract, Peter considers what they got out of the counselling and the advice they would give to others in a similar situation to them.