Ending Life’s Taboo offers rapid end of life counselling and support for 18 to 45-year-olds diagnosed with a life limiting illness. We are also here to support the families of the young person during this difficult time.
This video explains why we established Ending Life's Taboo.
In 2016 something hit our family and broke us. In eight short weeks our youngest son/brother Ross was diagnosed and died of melanoma skin cancer at the young age of 27. It was unexpected, terrifying, and destructive.
His misdiagnosis and the quick spread of cancer caused heartache for us all. Ross never received counselling as he was on a waiting list and well, cancer didn't have time to wait.
From this most awful of times grew a passion to help other young people in this situation, providing end of life counselling to help them not die in fear.
Often people shy away from talking about death but in all honesty it’s something every single human has in common - we will all die at some point. For the young it doesn’t seem like a reality. But when faced with being told you have a terminal illness everything comes crashing down - hopes, dreams, aspirations. Time is no longer an option.
So, our terminal illness counselling charity has been set up to give these young people rapid access to counselling at a time when it can feel difficult to cope. When you access our service, you are in control and we will go at your pace. How much you use our service is entirely up to you.
Our counsellors will help you explore and understand your emotions, fears and anxieties without judgement and what you say won’t be shared with others.
We hold an exciting range of events throughout the year to raise money for Ending Life's Taboo.
With your help we can support young people who are dying and offer a service that can make their passing as peaceful as possible.
There are lots of ways you can help and support our terminal illness counselling charity. Whether you would like to volunteer at an event, send a donation or simply like and share the information we post on our socials, it all helps, and we are truly grateful for any support you can give
Tracy is the founder of Ending Life's Taboo. Since the death of her son, she has been passionate about challenging society's view of death and dying with an aim of improving the quality of end of life care for young adults. Until July 2021 Tracy was a member of the North East Essex Alliance Board for Health and Wellbeing at End of Life and Chair of the Patient Participation Group. She has worked in the finance sector for around 40 years, most recently as a school business manager. In her spare time Tracy enjoys sewing, gardening and cycling.
Dr Hattie has been a consultant in palliative medicine since 2005. She initially worked at St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney, where she developed the palliative care curriculum for medical students at Barts and the Royal London. She has an interest in caring for patients from diverse and minority backgrounds. In 2016 she joined Colchester Hospital and St Helena Hospice, working closely with the neurorehabilitation team to particularly support Motor neurone and Huntington’s disease patients. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, cooking and gardening.
Toni runs her own family business alongside home-schooling her two children. Her previous role as a family outreach worker found her supporting families in disadvantaged areas. Toni’s passion for helping those who are in need has always been very important to her. After witnessing the emotional pain her younger brother experienced at end of life and how traumatic this pain could be, she wanted to help provide psychological support to young people as part of their palliative and end of life care. In her free time, she enjoys family days out, caring for her animals and running.
Dr Daria is a consultant clinical psychologist and feels it is a privilege to offer support to people at the most important and critical time in their lives. In her experience working as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in cancer and palliative care, Dr Daria has experienced how often young peoples’ emotional needs are overlooked in favour of a more medically based approach. It is hard to come to terms with the loss or potential loss of a young life, which often means that young people receive active medical treatment until the end rather than having their emotional needs met. Dr Daria strongly believes that a charity which bases its foundation on addressing the fear and anxieties associated with a life limiting condition by creating a safe therapeutic space in a clinically led environment, promotes a better holistic care.
Lynda is married with two sons. Before training as an Integrative Counsellor she worked in the care sector and hospitality industry for many years. It was during this time she decided to return to education as a mature student after realising her passion for caring for others and listening skills could be transferable - counselling fitted the bill. She qualified as an Integrative Counsellor in 2009 with a background firmly embedded in the provision of specialist palliative care. She now offers counselling to patients and families facing uncertainty and change while coping with many varied losses that having a life limiting illness incurs. She feels the relationship between the counsellor and client is paramount for therapeutic change to take place.
Katherine Grogan is an integrative counsellor working in Ipswich Hospital for Ending Life's Taboo. She also works as a counsellor, music therapist and Emotional Wellbeing Team leader at St Elizabeth Hospice working with people and their families facing a palliative diagnosis and in bereavement. She offers patients and families a confidential space to share and explore their hopes and fears, thoughts and feelings as they face loss, limitations and change.
Katherine lives with her family in the countryside around Ipswich. Family, faith, singing and sustaining relationships and connecting to nature are among the things that are most important to her.
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"I was diagnosed with a brain tumour in late 2019, and it completely changed my life. I felt lost and confused. I was told that the average life expectancy for my type of tumour is 14 years. This compounded my feelings and I found myself taking out my frustrations on my loved ones. However, I was referred to counselling, which I was sceptical about, but in fact it was a revelation. I found that I could talk to someone who just listened to what I had to say, and had amazing compassion and frankly, some fantastic ideas to help me through. I would urge people, who may, like me, think it's not for them or be embarrassed, to give it a go. I can confidently say, it may well change your life for the better".
"I was initially nervous in discussing my situation, and my future in general. My mind settled very quickly, far more than I expected, in looking at my way forward. Lynda has helped me significantly, helping moving my mind forward, and getting my state of mind to be stronger. I am very grateful for all the help, thank you Lynda".
Dan, North East Essex.
"I just wanted to thank you for the difference you have been making to my patients. There are two patients that come to mind instantly who have been struggling with knowing they have a terminal illness, yet want to try and make the best of life for now. I am not sure they would be where they are now without your input.
I am so pleased that the charity has chosen to have you based here with us at Colchester as having this service for our younger patients is invaluable. As a CNS that looks after both TYA patients as well as those with brain tumours, I have seen first-hand the issues there for patients between 25 and 40 that seem to slip though the net. Since we have had you here, this has not been the case.
Neuro-oncology & TYA CNS
"My therapist is very professional, but you can also feel that she is very friendly. We have good contact. She is good listener. Thanks to her with the help and support I feel much more better. I feel like I can count on someone who always listen and looking for solution. Between us developed a bond and trust. I am very satisfied."
Iwona Sosnowy Lipnicka
The NHS has been absolutely brilliant with the physical side of things. In 7 months, I’ve had 17 chemotherapy treatments, 7 bone-strengthening drips, 3 biopsies, what feels like a billion blood tests, x-rays, MRIs... the list goes on.
But the emotional side of things is less straightforward. There’s no medicine or treatment regime which can help you come to terms with an incurable cancer diagnosis. That’s where the charity Ending Life’s Taboo comes in.
Thankfully, because I’m considered young (at 42, I know right!), I was lucky to access counselling straight away from a small charity set up by a family who lost their loved one far too young and far too quickly.
Ending Life’s Taboo offers rapid counselling to 18-45-year-olds diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. I’ve had 22 sessions so far, all funded by the charity, and it’s been as valuable as all of the physical treatment I’ve received.
Having space to process the complicated emotions that come from such an uncertain future allows me and my family to try and put fears about dying to one side so we can focus on living, for as long as that might be.
We really appreciate any amount you are able to donate to Ending Life's Taboo. Your support is so important to helping young adults to receive rapid access to end of life counselling.
This interview with BBC Look East gives an insight into why Endling Life’s Taboo was established and the support we now provide.
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CHARITY REGISTRATION NUMBER: 1194537