Performance at Marie Curie raises awareness of challenges accessing health & social care when supporting loved ones with terminal illnesses & life limiting conditions

An award-winning playwright will be raising awareness of the challenges supporting a family member with a terminal illness when he brings his performance to the Marie Curie Hospice, West Midlands, this October.

In ‘Fighting For Life,’ Brian Daniels explores ways older people struggle with accessing social and health care support, by letting audiences peek into the lives, heartaches and good times experienced by the true story of ‘Jim’ and ‘Joan.’

James and Joan Findlay have been married for 62 years. Joan has dementia and, with their four adult children leading busy lives elsewhere, her principal carer is her husband, James.

When James is diagnosed with motor neurone disease, the family find themselves navigating a fractured health and social care system to get their parents the help they need and to keep them together to the end.

The inspiration for the play came from the Findlay Report (published in 2006), which was written with the support of the Findlay family after the death of their parents.

By putting together their experiences and recommendations for how things could improve, the family wanted to chart the issues around caring for the elderly – particularly the most vulnerable – and help other families to get better support than they did.

It is now 13 years since the Findlay family’s experience and yet the same challenges exist for people living with complex needs at the end of life.

The play will be performed on Tuesday 8th October, 2.30 – 4pm, at the hospice on Marsh Lane, Solihull.

Suzanne McArthur, Allied Healthcare Professional and Community Engagement Lead, said:

“We are excited to be hosting such a thought-provoking play on a subject many of us are likely to face in our lifetime. The play highlights the struggles one family faces in dealing with the challenges of supporting a loved one who is terminally ill through its unique approach to story-telling.

“Here at the Marie Curie Hospice, West Midlands, we offer the reassurance of specialist care and support, in a friendly, welcoming environment, for people living with a terminal illness and their loved ones – whether someone is staying in the hospice, being supported at home or just dropping into one of our support groups or cafés.”

The performance will be followed by afternoon tea and a panel discussion. Dr. Helen Findlay, one of James and Joan’s children who is a member of Marie Curie’s Expert Voice Panel, will be joined by local professionals and service users, who will discuss themes raised in the play including the future of end of life care.

For tickets or more information, please contact: Suzanne.McArthur@mariecurie.org.uk

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