Grief School: Life-Threatening Illness Diagnosis


This Grief School panel discussion brings research experts together with people experiencing grief following a life-threatening illness diagnosis, to talk about this very unique form of grief.

The discussion is facilitated by Philippa Bayley, Chair of the Bristol-based charity The Harbour. The Harbour provides a counselling service to adults facing their own death or that of a loved one due to a serious illness. Philippa is a neuroscientist, research manager and artist who became interested in how we talk about death when her mother suffered from and then died of Motor Neurone Disease.

We welcome panellists Dr Linda Machin, Jane Murray, Ninon ven der Kroft and Helena Davies.

Jane is an Adult Bereavement Support Lead with Marie Curie. She’s also a Registered Nurse and a qualified counsellor, who sits on the executive of ABSCo (Association of Bereavement Coordinators in Hospice and Palliative Care).

Ninon is a trained social worker, an End of Life Doula and a death educationist who’d like to highlight issues faced by marginalised groups. She has worked as a doula in the community, breathing life into conversations about death and empowering people to navigate their dying in a meaningful way. Ninon works as a trainer for Living Well Dying Well, which enables people from all walks of life to become companions to the dying in their own communities.

Prior to her early retirement due to ill health in 2007, Dr Helena Davies was a consultant paediatrician in Sheffield with a particular interest in medical education and the long-term effects of treatment for survivors of childhood cancer. Helena has complex chronic health problems which are the cause of considerable disability including chronic pain and fatigue. Helena had treatment for breast cancer in 2009 and 2010 and brings her personal take on how it feels to be diagnosed with a serious health condition.

Dr Linda Machin¬†is a trained medical social worker and Honorary Researcher at the International Observatory on End of Life Care at Lancaster University. Linda has conducted pioneering bereavement work including developing the ‘Range of Response to Loss Model’, one of several concepts presented in her book, Working with Loss and Grief.