We’re shining a spotlight on the services The Myton Hospices provides and finding out a bit more about the people involved with them.
Ann Sayce has been cutting, washing and styling the hair of patients at Myton for 12 years. She told us a bit more about herself and the role she plays within Myton.
Can you describe yourself in three words?
Creative, spiritual and intuitive.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I would like to go somewhere that I’ve never been before, so maybe somewhere like India, China, Mexico or Brazil to experience something new.
I like the idea of a different culture and to experience a different way of life. The world is a much bigger place than we realise from where we’re sitting.
Who do you admire most in life?
I have a great admiration for my parents because they worked hard to make a good life for their children. There are also people locally who I’ve worked with in the community that I admire.
If you won the lottery, how would you spend it?
I think if you win a large amount of money like that you should be creative with it and build something that people can be involved with. Very much for me, it’s all about people; money on its own isn’t much fun is it? You’ve got to have someone to share it with. I may like to travel too!
What is a skill you’d like to learn and why?
I would like to be better at IT! The world is changing so quickly and I look at my children and great nieces and think ‘I wish I could do that’. My brain doesn’t seem to work in the same way as theirs. I do work at it and have improved but I would still like to have greater skills in that area.
What does your role entail?
It’s very much a comfortable environment and we try to make the salon as normal as possible – it’s away from the medical side of the hospice which I think is quite nice for people. I’m trained to work with women’s and men’s hair, people can have whatever they want really.
It’s very important for patients who haven’t been able to get out to a salon, or have problems with their hair. We don’t work on an appointments system and that means I can take the time to find out about the person and what they really need. We do colours and perms occasionally, we also have donated wigs to try on and take away which has also been very important to some patients.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The people! They are just great! You see such a lot of courage here and I get such a lot back from working with people who may be vulnerable, or need this service.
It’s often not so much about what I can do for people; it’s what I get back from doing it. It can mean such a lot to them. I have had patients who want to come back after being discharged from Day Hospice. Some do come back outside of Day Hospice hours to access the service and make a donation to Myton in return.
What has been your most memorable moment at Myton so far?
There are a lot of memorable moments! I think you can feel very humbled by what people say and how grateful they are. We’ve had plenty of weddings here which are always special.
There was one lady when I first started who came for a number of years and we used to laugh so much! We had built a great relationship and we had a lot of fun.
How would you describe Myton in three words?
Welcoming, caring and supportive.
Why did you decide to come to Myton?
My sister was 38 when she was diagnosed with cancer – she was a nurse at the Warneford Hospital at the time – and she became very ill very quickly.
It was about six weeks from diagnosis to death. She didn’t want to come to Myton despite being offered a place; she wanted to stay in hospital because that was the environment she felt safe in. But the doctor from Myton came over to treat her at the hospital. I’ve always had a soft spot for Myton.
When my sister was ill she still wanted her hair done and I could do that for her at the hospital. When I became aware of the vacancy for a hairdresser at Myton I knew that was what I would like to do.
How do you think hairdressing helps people at Myton?
I think it’s an aspect which is often forgotten. It is important how people feel about themselves; it’s important holistically. I remember one gentleman who was very smart and he knew exactly how he wanted his hair. He said to me ‘you know this cancer business, it sometimes makes you feel like you’re not a real person’ so I think helping people with their identity, and thinking about something different in a different environment, can sometimes help them to face the world.
What do you find most challenging about your role? How do you deal with it?
Sometimes you see very poorly people, and people with facial tumours and other things which in the outside world you’re not as aware of unless you’re working in this kind of environment. Those things are challenging and you have to remember you can’t carry it home with you. And everyone at Myton is just so supportive, always making sure you’re okay.
What would you say to someone who was scared to come to Day Hospice?
Over the 12 years I’ve been here I’ve met a lot of people and I cannot think of one person who has come to Myton and said ‘I don’t like it’. And what you often hear is someone saying they were worried about coming to Myton and can’t believe everything we have here, and that they don’t want to leave!
If you would like to find out more about the services we provide, please click here.