Young widow Chloe Dayneswood will be taking herself out of her comfort zone to thank the hospice that cared for her late husband.
The 33-year-old from Littlehampton was looking for a purpose and something to ‘put her energy into’ to help her cope with bereavement.
Before Ben Millard died, he and Chloe discussed setting up a JustGiving page, asking for donations to St Barnabas House rather than having flowers at his funeral. The page has since raised more than £5,000.
Wanting to take the fundraising further, Chloe then discovered the 67km Dalai Lama India Trek, involving five days of walking all day and camping at night.
She said: “Ben’s wish was to give back to the hospice, so it is my mission to do it for him.
“The trek is so far out of my comfort zone and something I would never have thought of doing. The ironic part is, Ben always wanted me to go camping as it’s something he enjoyed, whereas I am more of a hotel kind of girl.
“He was passionate about the care he received and so grateful, so I think it’s doing him proud as well.”
Chloe grew up in Worthing and Ben lived in Crawley until they moved to Littlehampton.
He was diagnosed with stage four cancer on July 20 last year and assigned a Macmillan nurse, who referred him to St Barnabas House. Just a few days later, he was admitted to the in-patient unit.
Chloe said: “We came to St Barnabas on the Friday and Suzanne Ford-Dunn, one of the medical consultants, confirmed that the cancer was completely in one of his kidneys, as well as his stomach, bowel and lymph nodes, and starting to go into the other one.
“We expected to be there for the weekend, and then we had that devastating news. We didn’t leave. We were there until August 14, when Ben passed away.
“Ben fought until the end. I think he was aiming for his 40th birthday in September. I remember one of the St Barnabas housekeepers talking to him and asking him how old he was. He said ‘I’m 39, should be 40 next month, that’s the aim anyway’.”
Chloe was touched by the care they received and grateful for the bereavement support but has found life tough, so she was looking for a purpose, something to focus on.
She said: “I saw the trek advertised and thought it would tick a few boxes for me. The training and fundraising will occupy my time and the trip will get me to focus on a time beyond today, which is still so difficult after Ben passed away.
“The care Ben received was amazing. Ben wanted to remain in St Barnabas and I am so grateful that his wish was fulfilled. If they didn’t have the space in the hospice, our last few days together would have been so different.”
The St Barnabas Dalai Lama India Trek will take place from October 18 to 28, 2018. A team of 50 people will journey through the spiritual heart of northern India, the centre of the Tibetan community in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Chloe said: “The inspiration to start fundraising came back to me feeling bad that I hadn’t been there to thank the nurses personally for the care we received. I wanted to give something back.”
Together with family members, Chloe has also presented the hospice with £13,934.90 following a fundraising event in memory of Ben and other relatives cared for by the hospice, Gaby Blake, Will Blake and Annie Blake.
So far, Chloe has raised £1,084 towards the trek. Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ourbenmillard to make a donation.
For more information on the trek, visit www.stbh.org.uk/india