Ian’s Heartfelt Journey with Pendleside Hospice

Today, we share the inspiring journey of Ian Magnall, a trained physiotherapist with a passion for adventure, whose path led him to Pendleside Hospice in a twist of fate during a challenging time.

An avid traveller and thrill-seeker, Ian had originally started his career in the engineering industry but quickly realised that his heart was elsewhere. The result of a climbing accident led him to the healing power of physiotherapy, igniting a dream to establish his own practice, which he does alongside teaching watersports, particularly surfing, yoga and meditation.

Ian has travelled all over the world, including France, Australia and Germany, before settling in Portugal, where he met his partner. However, Ian’s father, Jim, reached out to him just before lockdown, due to his worsening health conditions, and Ian returned to England in April 2020 to be by his side.

Jim was battling with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and as months went by, Ian saw his father's health rapidly decline. Jim was continuously encountering bouts of infection, which only worsened his health each time. This was also taking its toll on Ian’s mental well-being and he began to feel helpless.

In his pursuit of coping mechanisms, Ian found solace in yoga and self-meditation, offering brief moments of relief. However, he soon realised that he needed additional support while caring for his beloved father. In a fortuitous twist of fate, Ian was guided towards Pendleside Hospice.

When Ian arrived at the Hospice with his father for the first time, it became apparent that Jim’s appointment should have been at a different place. Feeling deflated, Ian was ready to walk out of the door, but Julia O’Neill, Pendleside's Day Services and Family Support Manager, was about to change everything. She noticed Ian's distress and invited him in for a brew and a chat. From that moment on, a support system was put in place, with Jim receiving exceptional care from Pendleside’s Hospice at Home team and attending weekly sessions in their Health, Wellbeing, and Rehabilitation department. It gave Jim the extra support he needed, while providing well-needed respite for Ian.

As the main caregiver for his father, Ian forged a profound bond with the Pendleside staff. The Hospice's day services provided a warm and welcoming atmosphere, featuring activities such as bands, music, and themed days that brought joy not only to Jim but also to Ian, who felt embraced by the Hospice community.

Ian added: "When I dropped my dad off for day services, I didn't think he'd respond all that well, but he really did enjoy himself. There was always something new going on and I would often end up staying myself. I was making friends and I could see how much of a positive effect this was having on my dad.

After my dad passed away at home, I came to deliver the news to Julia and her team. I was of course heartbroken, but I also thought that meant my journey with the Hospice would naturally come to the end. I thought I was about to lose a place where I felt welcome, but that couldn't have been any further from the truth.

I have received bereavement support from Simon Frauts at the Hospice's Family Support Centre, I have been given complementary therapy, and I have also been taking part in Shabby Shed, a creative, upcycling session that takes place every Thursday.

Due to my experience, I have now started to give back to the Hospice by running weekly chair yoga sessions for the neuro support group as well as evening yoga classes for the Pendleside team.

Ian Running a Chair Yoga Session

I will soon be returning to Portugal, but I will be making frequent visits back to the Hospice when I can. I have made some life-long friends. Not only were Pendleside there for my dad when he needed it the most, they have also been there for me.

The Hospice could have very well saved me, and I am extremely thankful for their support."

Pendleside exists to promote and enhance quality of life for people with life-limiting illnesses, their families and carers; by delivering specialist and holistic palliative care.

Should you or anyone you know find yourself in a situation similar to that of Ian’s, we would urge you to get in touch with Pendleside Hospice on 01282 440 100, where we will be able to direct you to the right team.