On Saturday 9th April, three Crawley residents will be donning their walking boots and joining twelve others for a five day trek, hiking through the Pù Luông Nature Reserve in Northern Vietnam to raise funds for St Catherine’s Hospice. For every day the team trek, they’ll be paying for five hours of community care, allowing patients to be cared for in the comfort of their own homes.
We caught up with the intrepid trio of local trekkers to uncover why they’re going the extra mile for the Crawley hospice:
Gerry already volunteers for St Catherine’s as a gardener and street collector. He’s trekking in memory of his wife, Teresa, who was cared for by St Catherine’s. Gerry told us: “My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer 12 years ago and regularly visited the Lymphoedema nurse at St Catherine’s. Unfortunately after a long period of remission, she was diagnosed with lung cancer three years ago. 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 30 January. I want to give a little bit back to the hospice after all of the unbelievable love and care given to my wife, as well as our family and friends.”
Jane describes herself as “52 years young” and “a bit nutty”! “I often do random things,” she says, “and enjoy a challenge. I’m looking forward to the trek but not the blisters. Some of my family and friends have needed St Catherine’s help and support in the past so I want to give back to the hospice as a thank you for all the support they’ve given and to help them continue to help others.”
Tori is a mum-of-two and owner of Tykes Pre-School. For her, the Vietnam Trek is a chance to remember close friend, Stuart Shelford Dipper, who was a patient at St Catherine’s. “Whenever there was a fundraiser, Stuart would be the first one there, having his head shaved or bleached and always raising money for others,” she says.
One of Tori’s fondest memories was seeing Stuart get married to his long-term partner during his time at the hospice: “It was a beautiful service and will live with me forever. 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 the trek.”
Good luck to the team!
If you’d like to support Jane, Gerry and Tori (and the other eleven Hanoi Hikers) on their challenge, you can sponsor them here: justgiving.com/HanoiHikers.
By Shelley Baker