An extraordinary gift and a lasting tribute

24 Jul 2023, 8:14 p.m.

Occupational Therapist Katy Williams talks about her mum Rhona's enduring gift and thanks colleagues for their kindness.

Katy Williams' mum Rhona sadly died on Saturday 15 July while in our care at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital (GRH). Despite their grief at this difficult time, Katy and her family wanted to thank everyone involved in Rhona's care for their expertise, compassion and support. Katy says that she has been "overwhelmed by the response" that she has received on Twitter from so many staff across the Trust who got to know her mum.

Rhona Williams was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis in 2020 and Katy advises that her mum received exceptional care at every step of the way since receiving this devastating diagnosis of a condition for which there is currently no cure.

Katy said: "Mum received exceptional care from all GRH staff since receiving her diagnosis. From outpatient appointments with Dr Sharp, to a few hospital admissions in recent months and follow-ups at SDEC, the care was brilliant throughout."

My mum was always so grateful to the NHS and thankful to every single staff member for how they helped her.

Katy Williams

An extraordinary gift, a silent teacher

Rhona made the selfless decision to donate her body to medical science. Katy explains that Rhona hoped that this extraordinary gift would help others in the future, particularly since her diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis, where she became hopeful that donating her body could support further research and support in finding a cure.

Katy commented: "This was important to mum for a long time, but even more so after her diagnosis. Following mum's death, we were contacted by Bristol University who told us this week that what mum did was the ultimate gift as a human being, to give her body back. They said mum will become a silent teacher and advised only 500 people a year do this, so they were very thankful to the efforts of GRH staff in supporting them to make this happen."

The GRH connection

Katy explains that she loved to share her career progress with her mum, who was very proud of her journey and everything that she has achieved. Katy has worked at GRH for the last eight years, starting as a ward clerk, before becoming a Health Care Assistant and finally an Occupational Therapist.

Photograph of Katy Williams in white occupational therapist's uniform of white tunic with green edging

Katy says: "I have always been so proud to work at the Trust, but even more so now with the care my mum received until the very end.

"My mum was very proud of me and my sister, who is a nurse and previously worked at GRH Emergency Department for eight years. Mum always took great pride in telling people we worked for Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

"My mum Rhona brought her four children into the world at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and we remained by her side there to support her leaving this world, onto her next journey."

Raising awareness

Katy has pledged to raise more awareness of Pulmonary Fibrosis, as well as the option for people to give a lasting gift to future generations by donating their body to medical science. She says: "I will make it my aim to continue raising awareness of the condition, because more awareness can only result in more support."

Katy reveals that her mum's selflessness will continue to inspire her, as exemplified in the quote below, to which she adds, "one act of kindness at a time."

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something, and together we can change the world.

Ronald J. Sider

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