St Barnabas makes Andrew’s aviation dreams come true

From left to right: Christopher Heathershaw, Colin Heathershaw, Andrew Heathershaw and Andrew Horton.
From left to right: Christopher Heathershaw, Colin Heathershaw, Andrew Heathershaw and Andrew Horton.

Nurse goes ‘above and beyond’ to fulfil patient’s lifelong dream of a visit to RAF Coningsby

A hospice nurse has gone “above and beyond the call of duty” to give a patient receiving care at St Barnabas Hospice the “best day of his life”.

Andrew Horton was left lost for words when he received the call that he and his family would be having a behind the scenes tour of RAF Coningsby – something that Andrew had dreamt of since childhood.

Avid aeroplane fan Andrew, who lives in Martin in Lincolnshire, has been attending St Barnabas Day Therapy Centre in Lincoln for the past 14 months.

Diagnosed with final stage renal faliure at the age of 22, Andrew learned that he will need dialysis indefinitely or until he is strong enough for a kidney transplant.

A recently discovered heart condition means that the surgery has been delayed, but Andrew is hopeful that he will one day get his new kidney.

But after hearing about his love of planes, the hospice staff wanted to help Andrew fulfil his dreams and contacted the Willow Foundation, a national charity working with seriously ill young adults to organise uplifting and unforgetable special days.

Andrew said: “Life on dialysis has had a far greater impact on my life than I ever could have imagined.

“It touches every aspect of your life preventing you from eating the foods you enjoy to taking part in sports you once loved.

“Life becomes about hospital appointments, treatments and medications and your days become long and drawn out.

“It’s hard to remain positive and I am not ashamed to admit that I was becoming depressed.

“The nurses at Barnabas understood how I was feeling and they went above and beyond the call of duty to organise a once in a lifetime visit to RAF Coningsby.”

Sarah Fitter, High Lever Staff Nurse for St Banarbas Hospice, said: “After taking the time to get to know Andrew I soon realised he was feeling fed up with the focus of his life being around hospital appointments and that this was starting to have a real impact on his wellbeing.

“I feel quite humbled to have had a part in helping Andrew and his family experience this special day at RAF Coningsby which has quite obviously had a positive impact on them all.”

Andrew describes the day as ‘one of the best days of my life and something that my family and I will always cherish’.

He added: “I couldn’t believe it when I got the call to say the day had been arranged.

“It was lovely to have something to look forward to for the first time in a long time.

“The day was all that I could have hoped for and it was lovely to experience it with my dad and brothers.

“The absolute highlight has to be when I had the chance to sit in the working Lancaster and a Typhoon - it was like a dream come true!”

Andrew will continue to access St Barnabas Day Therapy Services to manage his symptoms as and when the support is needed.

Anyone ages 18 or above can refer themselves to any or all the different services provided, without the need for a doctor’s letter.

For any further information on how St Barnabas care services can be accessed in your area please call 01522 511 566 or visit www.stbarnabashospice.co.uk