Lenka Stastna, 25, gave up her life in native Slovakia to move to Bristol and care for her only sister Zdenka, when she was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2012. Along with Zdenka’s fiancé Kyle Millard, the pair cared for the 29-year-old alone until St Peter’s Hospice stepped in to offer much needed help and respite.
Zdenka sadly passed away this time last year and Lenka is now encouraging others to join her in supporting the hospice which provided a lifeline to her family.
“During Zdenka’s last few months it became very difficult to look after her on our own as she needed constant care. At the time I was also working as a food and beverage assistant at the Hilton Hotel in Bradley Stoke as well. Kyle and I were both completely exhausted and everyone kept saying how much weight we were losing.”
“Someone suggested asking St Peter’s Hospice for help but I was very unsure at first about leaving my sister with anyone else. We had a Community Nurse Specialist called Liz come to the house and she immediately put us all at ease and put my mind to rest.”
“The nurses began coming out every couple of days – they offered to do more but we wanted to do the majority of the care for Zdenka. The help allowed Kyle and myself to get things done, or go for a walk, or simply take a nap.”
“Although by this time Zdenka had lost her speech, I knew she was comfortable and I could see how well the nurses were caring for her.”
“Zdenka and I were very close, we were like twins so it was so difficult to watch her go through everything. Now a year after she passed away, it still doesn’t feel real and I find it difficult to accept. Training for the 10k as well as working at the Yankee Candle warehouse in Avonmouth and finishing my business degree is helping to get me through.”
The Bristol 10k is taking place on Sunday 31st May and although this year St Peter’s Hospice is not one of the named charities, Lenka is encouraging those already signed up to the event to support the hospice at the same time.
“When Zdenka was ill, I used running as an outlet for stress. It helped take my mind off things for a while, but I only ever did around 5k. The Bristol 10k will definitely be a challenge for me but I want to support the hospice. I have already raised around £500 through friends, family and colleagues and I hope to raise more before the day.”
“I am so thankful for the help and advice the hospice gave us and I’d tell anyone else in the same horrible situation to make use of this wonderful charity.”
As Bristol’s only adult hospice, St Peter’s Hospice cares for more than 2,670 patients each year as well as supporting family members.
Photo: Lenka and Zdenka Stastna.
Related link: Lenka’s JustGiving page
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