Hundreds to stride out for hospice’s Moonlight and Memories Walk anniversary
Families, friends and work colleagues are all set to pound the pavements for the 10th anniversary of St Catherine’s Hospice’s biggest annual fundraiser, the Moonlight and Memories Walk.
Two groups of walkers explain why they’re striding out in memory of loved ones to raise funds for the charity this June 4, on what promises to be a night to remember:
Colleagues celebrate Max’s life
A team of workmates from Lancashire County Council are set to pay tribute to a former colleague and St Catherine’s patient, who made national headlines earlier this year when he wrote a thought-provoking and moving blog about his experience of spending Christmas at the hospice, and how he was preparing to die.
Max Neill, a learning disabilities nurse, offered an honest and brave account of life with incurable bowel cancer, and also spoke out about the importance of people sharing their end-of-life wishes with loved ones.
Max, from Broadgate, Preston, died in February aged 49, and his work friends are still coming to terms with the loss.
Kate Burgess, who has organised the group of walkers, said: “Although we knew that Max was coming to the end of his life, we were all a little taken aback when he passed away, so no one felt it was the right time to organise something to show our respects when it first happened.
“We were talking about Max a few weeks ago and how much we missed him, and decided the time was right to celebrate his life. The Moonlight and Memories Walk is the perfect opportunity for us all to come together to remember Max as a group.
“Some colleagues are doing the four-mile route and some of us our doing the full 10-mile route; because there are two choices it means more of us can take part, which is great.
“We’re really looking forward to it, it should be great fun. We’ve started doing a lunchtime walk to get fit. It’s great to get away from our desks, and is good for us too!”
Speaking about dad-of-four Max, who also had four grandchildren, Kate added: “We have all worked with Max, some of us for more than 10 years. He was one of the most humble, understated yet quietly determined men I have ever met.
“He rarely talked about himself, but often talked about his family, who clearly meant the world to him. The thing I will always remember about Max was his passion for people, particularly people who were vulnerable. He had an amazing way of getting people to talk and share their experiences.
“The way he talked about his illness and how he felt about dying was very moving; he was determined that people would learn from his experiences about how best to support people who were dying.
“We wanted to do something to celebrate Max and the difference he made to our working lives. Max was so positive about the support he received from St Catherine’s, so it seemed logical to do it for the hospice, and many of us have family members who have relied on the charity too, so it’s very close to all of our hearts.”
Frank is remembered by wife, daughter and granddaughter
Janet Sutherland is walking out in memory of her beloved dad Frank Turner, along with her mum Margaret and daughter Rebekah, aged nine.
Janet, 44, from Leyland, said: “My dad was diagnosed with cancer in his stomach lining in June 2012, and he died that November, aged 67. It all happened very fast.
“He was in Preston Hospital for a week and a scan found that his bowel had burst, so that’s when he was moved to St Catherine’s, and he was there for three nights.
“The staff were so lovely and did such a fantastic job, so we felt like we wanted to do something as a family to show our support for the charity.”
Janet and mum Margaret, 68, also from Leyland, did the walk together last year and raised more than £200 for the hospice.
And Janet was pleased to learn that a new child-friendly, four-mile route has been introduced alongside the 10-mile version this year, to celebrate a decade of Moonlight and Memories.
Margaret will do the 10-mile trek whilst Janet and daughter Rebekah, a pupil at Woodlea Junior School in Leyland, will take on the four miles.
“It’s such a lovely atmosphere on the night,” Janet said. “When you’re walking around, people are cheering you on and everyone is so supportive. It really keeps you going!
“I also think it’s nice that the walk is starting and finishing at the hospice this year, because St Catherine’s means a lot to so many people.”
She added: “We’ve started doing a little bit of training now the weather is getting better. I think Rebekah’s most excited about dressing up and staying up late!”
Registration for the Moonlight and Memories Walk, which starts at 10pm at the hospice in Lostock Lane, Lostock Hall, is £15 for adults and £10 for under 18s.
Walkers are also encouraged to collect sponsorship to help raise even more funds for the charity which provides specialist care and support for people living with life-shortening conditions, and their families.
For more details and to sign up, click here.
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