39 year old mum of twins, Jude Wilcox, shares why she’ll be walking 10k under the stars in memory of her dad on Saturday 19th October 2019 for Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice.
My brave, full of character Dad was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus in October 2016. This was a massive shock to us and told with treatment he would have a year to live.
So, it’s for him that I’ll be lacing up my walking shoes and getting dressed in neon and colourful lights to walk Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice’s Starlight Hike this year.
"Dad did not shy away from his cancer"
Dad carried on with playing bowls, volunteering at the Soldiers Museum, being an amazing Papa to my 6 year old twin boys; just his usual life. He confidently told all who he met, friends, family and strangers he was dying.
He did not shy away from his cancer. He planned his funeral and even chose that we were to leave the funeral service to ABBA's 'Dancing Queen'.
"We had someone who very quickly got to know us as a family and helped support us through all the pain and confusion"
He did get worse and things did slow down, and we then discovered the cancer was also in his lungs.
At the end of December , we were introduced to my Dad's new consultant at Sue Ryder. He was amazing. He supported my Mum regularly by emailing her or ringing her up as she had taken over full time care of my Dad and all of his medical needs.
The consultant took my phone calls, and answered my concerns and questions. We had someone who very quickly got to know us as a family and helped to support us through all of the pain and confusion we were going through.
"The Sue Ryder team were so caring, so we knew this was the best place for Dad"
My Mum and I eventually got to breaking point caring for Dad. We were so scared and worried about his weight loss and deteriorating body. We went to visit Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, they were so caring, so understanding and we knew this would be the best place for Dad.
A day later, off Dad went to the hospice and they were just fantastic. We were welcomed with open arms at the most devastating moment of our lives. The hospice didn’t just see a patient they saw and cared for us as a whole family.
Sadly, Dad passed away early morning on Saturday 21st January 2017. We were with him, as he had wanted.
"I knew I had to channel my grief into something positive"
I knew I had to channel my grief into something positive and I wanted to help others going through this too, so we started raising funds for the hospice.
We reached our fundraising target of £1000 for the hospice just six months after Dad had passed away and we have continued supporting the hospice by taking part in the hospice's Starlight Hike for the the third time. Our team ‘Let’s Hike for Mike’ will all be dressed in neon and colourful lights as we walk.
My Dad loved bright colours, music (especially Abba) and fun, so for him the show will go on as I get my walking shoes on!
Join Leckhampton Court's Starlight Hike: A Night to Remember
Jude will walk alongside hundreds of others on a marshalled 10K route around Cheltenham. You can donate to Jude’s Starlight Hike Challenge via her JustGiving page.
Starting at St Edwards Prep School in Charlton Kings with live music performances from Rock Choir, an energetic Clubbercise warm up and uplifting party atmosphere, the route takes walkers to the softly lit hospice grounds where there is time to remember loved ones by leaving a message on a wall of stars.
For any other questions, please email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sign up to Starlight Hike 2019
Daughter of patient
Jude's Dad, Mike, was cared for at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice in Gloucestershire in January 2017. Since then she has been fundraising for the hospice to help make sure other local families can receive the same care her family did.