**I first published this post on an old blog site on 8 September 2016**
On the evening of Saturday 2nd July 2016 and into the early hours of Sunday 3rd July 2016, over 400 women, including myself, and my mum, ditched our beauty sleep to walk 7, 13 or 20 miles in the St Catherine’s Hospice Midnight Walk.St Catherine’s Hospice, based in Crawley, West Sussex, is dedicated to providing high quality hospice care, free of charge, to people living in Crawley, Horsham, Mid Sussex and East Surrey.
It costs £17,000 per day to run the Hospice, equating to £6M per year, all earnt through voluntary donations. This is why it is so important to fundraise and take part in events such as the Midnight Walk.
Each and every walker had their own reasons for taking part: some were walking in memory of loved ones, some were walking for those who couldn’t and others were walking to say thank you to St Catherine’s Hospice, like Jane.
Jane’s Mum was worried about going into a hospice but the staff at St Catherine’s made her feel as though she was in her own home with some of her own possessions and family photographs around her. The staff even ensured there was a bed available for Jane and her family to sleep in, right next to their mum. This enabled them to be a family rather than carers. We also heard from some of the wonderful night nurses, also walking, about how when it gets to 3am and you feel like you cannot walk on anymore, that is what it is like for them on a daily basis.
Myself and my mum opted to walk 13 miles. This route was a figure of eight around Horsham, taking us through the park, along main roads, around back streets. It was at the 11-mile point, around 2.15am, when I thought my legs would carry me no more that I remembered what the nurses had said and why I was doing this walk: for all of the patients who St Catherine’s have cared for and will continue to care for. I am sure they wish they could be taking part with us. That kept me going.
At 3.05am on Sunday 3rd July, we completed the walk and were treated to a lovely cup of tea and a much needed cooked breakfast from Ginger Rookes (gingerrookes.co.uk).
Last month, I was really fortunate to be invited to a garden party at St Catherine’s to celebrate having raised over £350 in sponsorship. This was my first visit and as soon as I walked in, there was an air of calmness and compassion. It is a beautiful place. My grandmother was in a Hospice in Kent for the last month of her life. I remember her saying to my mum: ‘How did you find me such a lovely place to stay?’ I truly believe she would have said this too had she been cared for at St Catherine’s Hospice.
So far, the Midnight Walk has raised over £63,000. What an incredible achievement, which I am sure is already benefiting patients and their families.
To find out more about St Catherine’s Hospice and their amazing work, visit www.stch.org.uk