‘Everyone should have the opportunity to access hospice care if they need it.’
Helen Lynch underwent a gruelling 85-mile running challenge along the length of Hadrian’s Wall in aid of St Catherine’s Hospice – her contribution towards helping the charity be there for people in Central Lancashire who need the hospice’s specialist care.
A self-employed tea blender, Helen lives in Exeter but wanted to give back to the Lostock Hall charity when her brother-in-law Ian Moore, from Farington, was cared for on the hospice’s inpatient unit in August last year after being diagnosed with cancer.
St Catherine’s – which cares for people with life-shortening illnesses at the hospice and in their own homes across Central Lancashire – receives £1.8m of its annual £5.6m running costs from the NHS, meaning it depends on the determined fundraising efforts and generosity of the public to generate the remaining £3.8m.
Helen, 54, said: “When I found out that the hospice wasn’t all government funded, I decided to do something to help raise funds. Hospices are so important and the majority of the money I raised was donated by people in Exeter who don’t even have a connection with St Catherine’s, which goes to show how valued hospices are to people.”
Helen completed the challenge over three days in June and raised a fantastic £1,074.17.
She said: “I’ve been a runner all of my life and I put in a lot of training for this, but it was an incredibly tough challenge and I was up against gale force winds on some days. Knowing so many people had sponsored me and supported me really spurred me on, and I met lots of walkers along Hadrian’s Wall who gave me a lot of encouragement, which gave me a big boost. I had planned to do it over four days but managed it in three.
“I ran 21 miles on the first day, 30 on the second and 34 on the final day. I came up with the idea to run Hadrian’s Wall after doing a course about its history last year, and when Ian died and I heard so much about the fantastic care he received at St Catherine’s, I really wanted to take on a challenge to raise funds for the charity.
“I’d never done anything like it before and it was an once-in-a-lifetime experience; now we’re hoping to organise annual fundraising challenges in Ian’s memory for people to join in with, such as sponsored walks.”
Hayley Jackson, community engagement officer at St Catherine’s Hospice, said: “I’m always amazed by the many varied ways people show their support, and running 85 miles along Hadrian’s Wall is a fantastic accomplishment! We’re incredibly grateful to Helen for putting in so much effort to raise much-needed funds for our vital work, and for the amazing generosity of her friends and family in Exeter who sponsored her.
“Her wonderful donation will make a real difference to local families affected by conditions such as heart failure, motor neurone disease and cancer, as we strive to help even more people enjoy quality of life, to the end of life.”