Jude, my wife, has had cancer three times and multiple operations in Cornwall, Birmingham, London, and most recently in Derriford Hospital. It was decided, after much "to-ing and fro-ing" between our home in Cornwall and the hospital, that she needed a duodenal resection. It was during one of these meetings that we learnt about Hearts Together.

Jude got the date for her operation, and we were lucky to be able to book a room for the night before her operation and the night after. You have no idea what this meant for us as we live in the far west of Cornwall, and Jude had to attend surgery at 7:00 am in the morning. Being at Hearts Together the night before meant she could get there at the right time without either setting off at 3:00am in the morning or spending a fortune at a hotel.

I eventually ended up stayed nine nights at the hotel in order to be able to visit and be with Jude every day, while she recovered in Hospital. In fact, when Jude was discharged, she stayed at the hotel that night as well, so that we wouldn't have to travel home through the night.

I have stayed in hospital accommodation in Birmingham and at a Travelodge in London. The experience was not good! Hearts Together is truly wonderful; the staff are second to none and so kind. My room was lovely, everything was very, very clean, and the facilities were great. Breakfast was available every day, and I could come and go as I pleased. 

The fact that I could walk to the hospital was a godsend and meant that I could visit Jude twice a day with ease. The prospect of driving backwards and forwards from Helston to Derriford was horrendous, and I can't imagine the cost of standard hotel accommodation, particularly at that time of year!

The fact that I had somewhere nice to go back to was so important for my own mental wellbeing. When I stayed in Birmingham, my room was in the old nurses' accommodation block and quite frankly felt like a prison cell. The atmosphere was so different from Hearts Together. At Hearts Together I met many people who were also worrying about their loved ones, but we all agreed how brilliant Hearts Together is. We were able to talk together and even support each other during some dark times when we were waiting for the result of operations and procedures, etc.

I cannot speak highly enough of this wonderful charity. It made a very difficult time a bearable one. I just wish every major hospital had such a facility. The care in Derriford was very good too!