I was fortunate to experience the wonderful hospitality of Hearts Together Hospital Hotel in March 2022, following a stem cell transplant at Derriford Hospital.

I was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma in May 2020, and after two grueling years of unsuccessful treatment, the Haematology team at Treliske Hospital decided that a stem cell transplant was my best chance for survival. Initially, it was hoped that my own cells would be suitable for the transplant but unfortunately, my immune system was not deemed strong enough and so an anonymous donor was found, through Anthony Nolan Trust, and my care was handed over to the transplant team at Derriford Hospital.

It was a daunting prospect - not only the procedure and the risks involved, but being so far away from home and fretting over how to manage the outpatient appointments following the transplant (we live in Newlyn, in the far west of Cornwall, 80 miles away from Plymouth).

We learned of Hearts Together during my first consultation at Derriford - the transplant nurse told us that it might be possible to stay at the Hearts Together when discharged from the Transplant Unit. It was immediately reassuring to know that this was an option for us and would mean that we could be close to the hospital for the initial post-transplant care.

I was admitted to Derriford in February 2022 and received my new cells on 1st March. After a difficult couple of weeks, my system started to embrace the transplant, and soon the doctors were talking about discharging me. Whilst it was really encouraging to be leaving the Hospital so soon, it was also terrifying! Terrifying for my husband too, who would be looking after me away from the hospital. I contacted the transplant nurses and wheels were immediately put in motion to get us into Hearts Together. I had spent over three weeks in isolation so leaving the hospital was a big deal. Walking to the multi-story car park at Derriford Hospital felt like a marathon, but arriving at the Hearts Together Hospital Hotel only minutes later, I felt an instant sense of calm and warmth. The hotel was so peaceful and to breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun on my skin and hear the birds singing was utter bliss. Despite being so close to the hubbub of the hospital, we felt we'd been transported to the quiet of the countryside - at last, I was able to have some proper rest and a decent sleep!

Our room was extremely comfortable, with an ensuite and a small kitchen. We were greeted on our first evening by the majestic resident stag family, who we saw frequently grazing under our window and around the beautiful grounds throughout our stay. The staff were so kind and accommodating, allowing us the flexibility to come and go during our stay. The communal area and kitchen facilities were so clean and well equipped, and the generous provision of breakfast items and endless tea and coffee was an unexpected bonus. Having a space to use outside of our room was really helpful as it meant there was somewhere for my husband to go if I needed to rest, and somewhere comfortable to cook and eat.

I can't stress how invaluable this facility has been to us. I'm not sure how we would have managed if we'd had to travel back and forth to Cornwall for appointments, spending hours in the car whilst feeling so poorly. It was the perfect transition between hospital home and we will be forever grateful to have been fortunate enough to take advantage of the amazing facilities and warm welcome at Hearts Together.