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In the 1940s, Cicely made a decision that many considered unconventional. Instead of completing her degree at Oxford University, she chose to become a nurse because she felt a strong calling to help her country during the war. Her classmates at the prestigious Nightingale Nursery School often teased her for her clumsiness, partly due to scoliosis, and her unfashionable hairstyle. Despite the challenges, she earned her nursing diploma but soon realized that her back pain would prevent her from pursuing her dream. Undeterred, she enrolled in a social work course.While working at St. Thomas Hospital, Cicely unexpectedly found herself falling in love with David, a terminally ill patient from Poland. Their relationship lasted less than two months, but it helped Cicely conceive the idea of a home-hospital—a place where the terminally ill, often deemed unrecoverable and neglected by the healthcare system, could receive compassionate care.During her free time, Cicely volunteered at St. Luke’s, a hospital run by nuns. Here, she crossed paths with the rebellious Sister Teresa and learned the significance of administering small, regular doses of opiates to bring comfort to her dying patients. She realized that to accomplish her goals, she needed to become a doctor.At the age of 33, Cicely graduated as a doctor and began her research on pain management for cancer patients. She fell in love with Antoni, who, once again, was Polish and terminally ill. This time, her heart was shattered. She contemplated leaving everything behind, but doing so would mean abandoning her patients just as her dreams were beginning to take shape. In 1967, the St. Christopher Hospice was inaugurated, and Cicely’s dream became a reality.


Emmanuel Exitu is an author, writer, and director. He has been involved in various projects for RAI television, including the film La stella dei Re (2006), which was based on his debut novel. His documentary Greater – Defeating AIDS, a finalist at Cannes 2008, was selected as Best Documentary by Spike Lee during the Babelgum Contest and showcased at numerous international film festivals. In 2016, he founded Ways!, an agency specializing in 360-degree storytelling for businesses and products.

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