Hospice helps seriously ill Barking father-of-five receive care at home

PUBLISHED: 17:19 12 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:05 13 March 2018

Katy Chelchowska with Alex McCracken and dog Sky. Picture: Saint Francis Hospice

Katy Chelchowska with Alex McCracken and dog Sky. Picture: Saint Francis Hospice

Saint Francis Hospice

Nine days before Christmas, doctors told a father-of-five from Barking he had liver cancer. They gave him just days to live.

Alex McCracken had been living with cirrhosis of the liver for six years.

After the diagnosis, he wanted nothing more than to be back with his wife Chris and their family, including their devoted pet dog Sky.

“It was a massive shock when the doctor came to see me while I was in hospital and told me they’d found cancer,” he said.

“I was given between two days to two weeks to live and as soon as I knew what was happening I wanted to be in my own home.”

Fortunately, the 54-year-old had his wish granted after help from Katy Chelchowska and the community and crisis support service from Saint Francis Hospice, along with the occupational and physiotherapy teams.

Within three days of being referred to the hospice in Romford, which cares for those with life limiting illnesses, Alex was reclining in a specialist bed set up in his living room.

The hospice’s occupational therapy team delivered a bath seat and a toilet frame he could continue to be independent.

Through house visits and chats on the phone, Katy has been checking up with Alex regularly to manage his symptoms so he is as comfortable and free of pain as possible.

“I immediately felt more relaxed,” he said, adding that half the pain was “lifted” just by being at home.

“I do not like to ask people for help with everything and now I’m able to be quite independent.

“It has only been a short time but they have made me so comfortable and I have been amazed at how much everyone at the hospice has put themselves out for me.”

He said his wife “is so strong it is untrue”.

Alex nows takes physiotherapy to help his mobility and has access to a crisis support phone line run by Katy and her team, which is open all hours.

“It takes so much worry off your shoulders, it’s a real lifeline,” said wife Chris, 54.

Latest Barking and Dagenham Stories

50 minutes ago

Read our World Cup blog over the coming weeks. Lane Dias reviews game one on day 12 of the tournament


Barking & Dagenham Cycling Club members have been very busy over the past seven days.

9 minutes ago

A hit-and-run driver knocked down and killed a 70-year-old man then sped off in his rented BMW, a court has heard.


Two schools in Barking threw open their gates for a summer fair on Saturday.


Harry Kane’s hat-trick inspired England to their biggest ever World Cup win as Gareth Southgate’s men sealed progress to the last 16 with a 6-1 demolition of Panama that puts their rivals on notice.


Four women have been arrested after a man was assaulted at Leicester Square tube station shortly early yesterday (Sunday).

The government is urging schools to get pupils walking a mile a day in ambitious plans to halve childhood obesity by 2030.


The captain has missed the last two games through suspension while opener Browne hasn’t played since the start of May against Yorkshire


The festive season is a hectic time for many, with frenzied dashes to the shops for groceries and gifts, and parties to arrange and attend.

Newsletter Sign Up

Barking and Dagenham Post twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Barking and Dagenham Post
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now