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MND patient finds his voice with the help of Farleigh!

Doug Kingsley lives with Motor neurone disease (MND), a condition that affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord that tell your muscles what to do. Doug has been a patient at Farleigh hospice since 2018, and this is his story.

“My name is Doug, and I am 72 years old. I live in Chelmsford, and I am Essex born and bred. In April 2018, following several tests at Broomfield Hospital and the Royal London, I was diagnosed with MND.

Following my diagnosis, my consultant at the Royal London asked if I was happy to be referred to Farleigh Hospice. When he suggested a hospice, I was pleased. I knew there was no cure, but I wanted to do all I could to help manage my condition.

Once referred to Farleigh I was contacted by Lisa Pyrgoudes, Farleigh’s MND coordinator, and since then Farleigh has supported me in so many ways and opened so many doors. They have helped me apply for my blue badge, attendance allowance, adaptions for my home, and put me in touch with the MND association.

I have attended counselling sessions, received complementary therapies including massages, attended exercise classes at their onsite gym, and I am part of their MND social group. The social group offers you the opportunity to meet like-minded people to share your stories and experiences. It makes you feel less isolated. Since the pandemic, we have been catching up every month over Zoom, and we hope in the future we will be able to meet up again in person.

It was at one of the social groups that I was introduced to music therapy. We had a singer come along to the group, and I decided to give it a go and sing ‘baby face’. I loved it so much I signed up for music therapy with Ruth. Ruth is a specialist music therapist, and after my first class I came out so high and haven’t looked back. I didn’t sing before, apart from in the bathroom, so I feel that if it wasn’t for MND I wouldn’t be singing now.

When I first told my friends I was being referred to a hospice they said: “we didn’t know you were that ill”. But it’s not like that, I have been with Farleigh for over two years, they are very supportive, are there when I need to talk, and have helped me find my singing voice.”