Spotlight On: Owen – A Hospice Hero at the ripe old age of, 11 #abseiling #fundraising #charity #events #wirral #wirralhospice #hospicehero

owen 1We love it when supporters of Wirral Hospice St John’s take on a challenge to raise funds for us.

Over the years, many thousands have undertaken a whole host of wonderful (sometimes weird!) activities and events. They’ve completed charity walks, run marathons, endured triathlons, sat in baths of beans, swum for miles, shorn their locks, climbed mountains, jumped out of aeroplanes and much, much more. The funds they raise help us to continue to provide our specialist care services, free of charge, for the people of Wirral.

People embark on these pursuits for all sorts of reasons. It might be that they witness the services we provide for their family members or friends, at first hand. They may know people who are staff and volunteers here or, perhaps they read about the essential services we provide on information leaflets, or on social media, and they just wanted to help.

Whatever the reason, we really appreciate them ONE AND ALL.

We’re always delighted to see young people taking part for us, sometimes joining their families on walks and a host of other activities.

So, when 11 year old Owen told his mum that he wanted to abseil down a tall building to raise money for the hospice, we were fascinated to find out, why? We wanted to know what motivates a young person to choose to raise money for our charity. Like any good story, a series of life events and circumstances combined to bring young Owen to his inspiring decision.

Owen was born in March 2007. His mum, Kate, had been pregnant at the same time as her good friend and neighbour, Karen. By happy coincidence they spent time on the maternity ward together, cementing their friendship. Karen’s little girl, Sadie, was born two days before Owen.

Karen and Kate remained strong friends in the following years and young Owen and Sadie, living close by in the same road, were like brother and sister. The birth of Owen’s brother Archie, two years later, added to this ‘extended family’ dynamic.

Life went on with its everyday joys and, with the children growing up and playing well together, all was well. That is, until four years later, Sadie’s mum Karen was diagnosed with lung cancer. Huge challenges lay ahead.

Intensive specialised treatment at Clatterbridge followed, enabling periods of relief, remission and respite. The love and support of her many friends, most significantly Kate’s family at that time, enabled Karen to live as full a life as possible with Sadie.

Karen was supported here at Wirral Hospice St John’s. She experienced life affirming activities within our Wellbeing Centre (then known as Day Therapy). She was later admitted to our inpatients ward, once her condition began causing the kind of pain and discomfort our specialist treatment is designed to stabilise.

In August 2016, after five years of living with her illness, Karen died.

In the times when her mum was ill, young Sadie had spent many hours with mum’s friend Kate, her partner Derek and sons Owen and Archie. As life continued, as it has to, Sadie’s Auntie Veronica (Ronnie) took on guardianship and now Sadie is settled with her family.

Karen’s friend Kate is our Kate. She works here at the hospice as one of our lottery administrators having been a hospice volunteer before that, working with the education team, at the time of Karen’s illness. When the chance of a job in the lottery team came up she applied successfully and has been here ever since. She loves her role at the hospice and, inevitably, the work of the hospice features in many family discussions. Young Owen and, increasingly, Archie know of the activities people undertake to raise funds for us.

Owen came to the hospice one day during the school holidays with his mum (already a young ‘volunteer’ his mum had him stuffing some envelopes for the lottery team!). It was just after his school trip to The Conway Outdoor Arts and Education Centre in Anglesey (you know the kind of place: character-forming, outdoors, sailing, hiking and, particularly captivating for Owen, abseiling).

If you’ve seen our ‘Take on a Challenge display banner, sometimes on the roadway here, you may have noticed the silhouette on the side showing a person descending a steep precipice. On the way into the hospice Owen saw the banner and told Kate, “I can do that mum.”

With that small phrase, another ‘Hospice Hero’ was developing.

The ideal place for the task presented itself while the family were walking the Wirral Way near Moreton, Leasowe Lighthouse! A quick Google search confirmed that the lighthouse hosted regular abseiling events with qualified instructors and, even though just 11, Owen was ready to take on his first challenge for the hospice.

So, with fundraising plans in place and sponsorship forms drawn up, family, friends and neighbours rallied around to support Owen. Mum and dad encouraged their pals to dig deep. People were very happy to help raise and contribute funds for the hospice in memory of Karen.

The day arrived and alongside other people (all adults) Owen, safety equipment secured, climbed over the supporting rail and began his descent down 110 feet of lighthouse.

owen 2Five minutes later, after a couple of pauses to catch a breath and with mum Kate’s heart in her mouth, Owen completed his abseil challenge. Lots of whooping, cheering and hugging ensued.
Then it was time to count up the donations!

In this one challenge Owen had raised a fantastic £756 for the hospice. He’d also, demonstrated his support for Sadie, honoured the memory of Karen, made his mum, dad and younger brother swell with pride and, gained the respect of many more of his family, friends and neighbours.

Well done our Owen, everybody at Wirral Hospice St John’s is truly honoured by your efforts!

Author: Billy Howard

 

Advertisements

300 Miles for Mum

photo

Collette and son, Luca

Over the last couple of years our supporters have taken part in the London to Paris challenge event where they cycled through beautiful English villages into stunning rural France and then Paris and in that time they have raised an unbelievable £8000 for Wirral Hospice St John’s.

This year, hospice supporter, Collette Morris will be joining our fourteen strong team. She will be embarking on the London to Paris cycle in memory of her Mum, Sue Oxton following the care she received from Wirral Hospice during her last months.

“I’m doing this ride in memory of my beautiful and brave Mum, Sue Oxton, for Wirral Hospice St John’s because of the exceptional job they do. Wirral Hospice St John’s cared for my Mum during her last months. To try and express what the Hospice did for us all during such a difficult time is really hard, but in the simplest terms they gave us peace of mind knowing Mum was getting the best care she possibly could, and in a place where she felt safe and could have her loved ones around her. However, most importantly, the Hospice provided my Mum with a fantastic level of care, and dignity till the end, and sometimes that is all we can hope for.”

FullSizeRender

This year’s Wirral Hospice London to Paris Team

We are very excited for Collette to join our 2016 team and her support along with that of all our London to Paris riders will go a long way to helping us raise the money

we need to keep the hospice going during 2016 and into the future. Collette hopes to raise an amazing £2000 from her cycle, you can add your support via her Just Giving page.

Our team will start with a long journey through rural Kent winding through picturesque British countryside, along the North Downs Way before reaching the white cliffs of Dover. After reaching Calais by ferry, the ride continues past historical landmarks and famous battlefields and through the small villages and medieval market towns of Northern France before ending in Paris amongst the buzz of the Tour De France as the atmosphere builds up for the Grand Finale.

Cycling from London to Paris is one of the great cycle experiences in Europe covering over 300 miles in 4 days. With long days in the saddle and some strenuous hill-climbs, the sight of the Eiffel Tower, the finishing point, evokes a real sense of achievement. It is an inspirational and challenging experience to treasure forever.

If you would like to take part in the 2016 London to Paris challenge there are still a few spaces left so whether you are a novice cyclist or an experienced rider, simply call Michelle on 0151 343 0778 or email michellet@wirralhospice.org for a full information pack and everything you need to take part in this fantastic event.

Author: Jacinta Warwick

“My crazy journey in memory of Bernie” #ironman #hospicehero

As a charity, we rely heavily on the generosity of the local community and are extremely thankful to those who support us. We are blown away by their kindness and the hard work they put in to raise vital funds to support our work – sometimes even, by the adrenaline-inducing ways in which they choose to fundraise!20150415-Army_Cycle_Race016_RSA_TIC-O - Copy

Wirral Hospice supporter Paul Robinson, who has raised £895 to date, started his ‘crazy journey’ in December 2014 when he began training for a challenge that is widely considered as one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the World.

Ironman‘ consists of a 2.4 mile swim (equivalent to 158 lengths in a standard pool), a 112 mile bicycle ride (equivalent to Liverpool to Cheltenham) followed by a full marathon (26.2 miles). Each part of the challenge is raced in that order, without a break and must be completed within a strict 17 hour time limit. (We’re exhausted just thinking about it!) But for Wirral Hospice supporter Paul Robinson, this challenge is both an exciting and important journey.

“I’m racing in memory of my wife’s mother, Bernie Hudson after Wirral Hospice played a key role in supporting Bernie and her close, loving family before she passed away. To complete the challenge, I started working on my general fitness, progressing to become more powerful and more of a triathlete. It’s going to be an exciting, if not painful journey to become an Ironman”.

Also adding to the challenge will be the temperature. Ironman events are held all over the World, including in Nice, France (Sun 28th June) where Paul will be swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, biking in the Alps and running along Nice’s historic waterfront – all in a 28C degree heat. Now that’s a challenge.

Best of luck Paul. We’re all rooting for you!

To support Paul through this incredible challenge visit his online fundraising page: www.justgiving.com/IronmanFRANCE15/

Ways of supporting our Hospice’s work #charity # fundraising #volunteering #kindness

wirral_hospice_john_bear_craneJanuary and February are notoriously tight months; usually spending as little as possible to try and recover from the hit of Christmas presents and all the social events during the festive months (that have been known to start before September is even over. For some people at least!). Lots of big hearty home-cooked meals, rather than takeaways, and cutting back on non-essential spending, like expensive frothy coffees and shop-bought lunches.

Many of us use these early months as a great opportunity to kick-start or get back into fitness programmes. Aiming for a more honed, toned and healthy body by the time the sun makes a fleeting appearance later in the year. Well that’s the plan we initially dream of, some of us fall victim to temptation along the way.

Usually people feel a bit more relaxed financially by the end of March so it’s a good time to assess finances and the time we can offer to those around us. Running a family home can be expensive and can often take all of our time, we are all too aware of that, so not everyone can easily afford to spare money at the end of each month or volunteer for good causes.

Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: