Fifteen intrepid people are jetting off to East Asia on Saturday (April 9) to take part in St Catherine’s Hospice first overseas challenge.
Taking up the Vietnam Trek through beautiful countryside in Northern Vietnam the ‘Hanoi Hikers’ are hoping to raise £50,000. For every day they walk, they will be paying for five hours of community care, allowing a patient to be looked after in the comfort of their own home.
Among them are Crawley residents Gerry Baker, Tori Bailey, Jane Bond-Roberts, Kelly Doughton, Sharon Anderson, Jan Sullivan and Janet Mayhew; Linda Parker of Balcombe and Heather Doughton-Pearce of Copthorne.
Hospice volunteer gardener Gerry is walking in memory of wife, Teresa, who died last year after a 12 year battle with lung cancer. He said: “In her final few months, this spread throughout her bones and brain and she received palliative care from the hospice. In early January 2015, she became an inpatient at St Catherine’s where she passed away on January 30.
“I want to give back to the hospice after all of the unbelievable love and care given to my wife, as well as our family and friends.”
Mum of two Tori is doing the trek to remember close friend and hospice patient, Stuart Shelford Dipper.
She said: “Dipper was one of life’s go-getters. He wouldn’t want us sitting around missing him - he’d want us to grab life by the horns and live it in his memory. That’s what will give me the strength to do this trek.”
Jane and Kelly also know how essential the hospice is. Jane said: “Some of my family and friends have needed St Catherine’s help and support in the past and I want to help others who will need their care in the future. I want to give back to the hospice as a thank you for all the support they’ve given and help them continue to help others.”
Nurse Kelly added: “I signed up to challenge myself with an exciting opportunity and raise money for the hospice: a worthwhile cause that provides specialised care at an extremely difficult time.”
Coffee shop volunteer Jan said: “I’ve always wanted to visit Vietnam and this way, I can support a wonderful cause at the same time.”
Fellow coffee shop helper Janet is taking part after her mum died of dementia in 2013 and also losing her close friend Ed last year. She said: “Following both these events, I felt it was time to make some big changes in my life, and do something that I’ll look back on and feel proud of.
“I recently turned 60 and doing the trek will be a once in a lifetime experience to help me build my new life. I’m taking part in memory of my parents and friend.”
Meanwhile Heather, who works in St Catherine’s HR team will think of work when things get tough. She said: “When I’m knee deep in the jungle with leeches in my trousers and 200 mosquito bites, having not showered for days, I’ll be smiling, thinking about what an honour it is to be able to help such a fantastic cause.”
For St Catherine’s coffee shop volunteer Linda, it is her first charity event and admits she is ‘way out of her comfort zone’, but could rely on the experience of Sharon, who has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for charity.
She said: “I’ve always been aware of St Catherine’s and was looking for a new challenge. This ticks all the boxes - I get the opportunity to fundraise for a truly worthy cause and visit a country I’ve always wanted to go to.”
To support the Hanoi Hikers visit www.justgiving.com/HanoiHikers or for details of St Catherine’s challenges go to www.stch.org.uk