“Giving back to the hospice is very important to me” Rebecca steps out for her second December Daily Dash

After taking on the December Daily Dash in 2020, school teacher Rebecca is hoping to do it all over again this year. Both her father and grandfather received end-of-life care at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice so Rebecca, 29, was keen to get involved in the annual challenge in which participants run, walk or jog 5k every day throughout December to raise funds for Sue Ryder.

Rebecca with her dad, Neil
Rebecca with her dad, Neil, who was cared for at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice

“The end-of-life care was second-to-none and the staff were so understanding”

Rebecca was just 23 when her father Neil died in 2015 at the age of 51. Her grandfather Duncan, 81, died a year later in 2016, leaving Rebecca determined to ensure Sue Ryder will continue to be there when it matters for other families in the future.

She said: “My dad spent two days in Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice in August 2015 following a cancer diagnosis. The end-of-life care he received was second-to-none and the staff were so understanding.

“My granddad also spent his final days in the hospice in October 2016. The support from all the staff made their final days comfortable and helped my family come to terms with loss and life after losing a loved one.”

An achievable and rewarding challenge

When she saw the Sue Ryder December Daily Dash advertised Rebecca realised it was the challenge for her.

She said: “Giving back to the hospice is very important to me. Being a teacher I walk around quite a lot anyway and this really fitted into my lifestyle. I’m not fit enough to do a half marathon but the December Daily Dash was achievable and I found it really rewarding.”

Rebecca out on her Daily Dash with friends and family
Rebecca out on her Daily Dash, in her Wheatfields Hospice t-shirt
Rebecca with her dog, ready for another Daily Dash

“I loved doing it and it was a great excuse to get myself out on the cold nights. By the time I got home from work it would already be 4.30pm and it was dark, but it was quite nice because all the Christmas lights were on so that was lovely to see.

“I walked most of it but I did jog a bit. There were definitely a few days when I didn’t want to go out in the cold, but I did manage every day – even Christmas Day!

“I’m not the fittest of people but doing the December Daily Dash meant I lost weight too. I might try to jog a bit more this year. Running would make it easier because you’re not out in the cold for so long!”

History of the December Daily Dash

The December Daily Dash was founded in 2015 by Jackie and Mark Smith after Jackie's dad died of cancer, just 18 months after losing her Mum to the same illness.

Inspired by the end-of-life care he received from Sue Ryder, they decided to set themselves a challenge to run 5k every day in December.

Initially joined by 11 friends (and Chester the dog!), the December Daily Dash grew in popularity over the following years to raise more than £430,000 for Sue Ryder's palliative, neurological and bereavement support. Since that first year, over 2,000 people have taken up the challenge alongside them.

Read Jackie and Mark's story

Two runners in their December Daily Dash t-shirts

Take part in the December Daily Dash

If Rebecca's story has inspired you to take on the Dash this year and help us be there when it matters, it's not too late to sign up! Find out more on the December Daily Dash website.