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22nd February 2024 Latest News

Jane’s artistic legacy for palliative care

Jane Mumford

As a long-term patient in palliative care, Jane Mumford has faced many physical and mental challenges across her health journey.

She has been living with Multiple System Atrophy Cerebellar (MSAC) – a rare neurodegenerative disorder with no cure – since her diagnosis in 2017, six years after first experiencing symptoms.

But one unlikely thing has kept her going – the support and comfort she’s received from art therapy.

Jane with THRF Group staff.

After meeting The Hospital Research Foundation Group – Creative Health art therapist Gabby Wright, Jane was introduced to the power of art as a therapeutic tool.

The pair met in The Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s palliative care ward in September 2022, exploring the creation of legacy lanterns as a form of therapy.

Those sessions gave her a renewed sense of purpose and made such an impact that Jane became determined to pay it forward. During her early therapy sessions, Jane spoke to Gabby about how distressed coming to hospital made her feel, in part due to how uninviting spaces like the palliative care ward’s family room were.

“It needs love and attention and warmth, these people are going through a terrible time,” Jane said.

“I thought that I had to do something, and it became a bit of a mission.”

For more than a year, Jane has been raising money for THRFG charities Creative Health and Palliative Care with the aim of giving back and improving the space for everyone who will come after her.

Some projects have been minor in scale, but the biggest component is Jane’s final gift to the palliative care ward. Her fundraising allowed the commission of local artist Sarah Casson (known professionally as Sair Bean) to transform a blank wall in the family room into a whimsical and vibrant mural, shining light into a once drab space.

At its unveiling in December, Jane said she was “blown away” by the final piece.

“Before, the family room was like something out of the 1920s. You didn’t want to come in and sit in here, you just wanted to get in and get out,” Jane said.

The work depicts the intricacies of life’s journey, through sprouting trees and a boat embarking on a voyage.

Gabby also organised for Jane’s name to sit on a plaque accompanying the mural, so that her selflessness will never be forgotten.

“She has this desire to ensure that her life has a positive impact on the community and makes a difference,” Gabby said.

“Jane didn’t want her name on that wall, but I think it’s really important to recognise that when people walk into that room, they know that it is a special place because the funds that enabled us to create that space were raised by a patient that was in palliative care.”