An intrepid grandmother is calling on adventure seekers to make a difference in 2022 by joining a St Giles Hospice fundraising trek or challenge.
Hospice supporter Haley Stone, aged 56, is already thinking about which adventure she wants to try next after tackling a two-day Cornish Coastal Challenge last September (2021).
Haley, who is married with a daughter and two grandchildren, decided to join a group trekking from Harlyn Bay to St Agnes to thank the St Giles community nursing team for supporting her father after he was diagnosed with dementia.
Last year Haley, from Tamworth, managed to raise an impressive £815 from her trek to support the hospice’s work caring for local people and their families living with a terminal illness.
She said: “I would urge anyone to have a go – it was a fabulous experience, absolutely brilliant. The coastal walk around Cornwall was just beautiful and I really enjoyed pushing myself to complete the challenge. I had such a wonderful time that I’m already thinking of doing it again, or maybe tackling Mount Snowdon.
“I got great support from the St Giles fundraising team. They called me regularly and were always ready to offer advice on fundraising or training. It was a real comfort and inspiration to know that they were there to support me before, during and after the trek.
“You get such an amazing feeling of accomplishment when you finish the trek, it’s quite magical and quite an emotional moment.”
Haley worked as a Transport Manager at St Giles, arranging patient journeys to the hospice, in 2011-12 before moving to Cornwall to run a coffee shop. But while she was there her father, Doug Birt, from Glascote, was diagnosed with dementia and the hospice community nursing team helped to support him before she was able to move back to Tamworth to look after him through his final days before his death in 2017.
She added: “Going on the trek was a way to pay St Giles back and say thank you for the fabulous care that they gave him. Years later I’m still friends with two of the nurses – they were lovely.
“St Giles has a lovely welcoming and warm atmosphere and I worked with a great team of staff and volunteers who were all very supportive and positive.
“I did the trek because I wanted to spread the message that St Giles is not just somewhere people go to die, it’s a place where everybody is focused upon improving the quality of life, however long you have left.”
In 2022, St Giles will be running a series of charity adventures both in the UK and abroad in partnership with Discover Adventure, offering fundraisers the opportunity to tackle a trek on foot or by bike to raise funds to support its care services.
Treks and challenges in 2022 include a Northern Lights Trek through Iceland in March, an Arctic Adventure through Finland, also in March, and a Three Peaks Weekend in the Yorkshire Dales in July.
Cornish Coastal Challenges, London to Paris bike rides, and Snowdon by Night adventures will also be taking place on various dates throughout 2022.
Chloe Herbert, Head of Fundraising at St Giles Hospice, said: “If you’ve made a new year’s resolution to get fit or to challenge yourself – or if you’ve just decided to try something new – then we’d love to hear from you.
“Whether you already support St Giles and are looking for a new way to raise funds or someone who has never encountered St Giles before, you can make a huge difference and #TeamStGiles will be there to support you every step of the way whichever challenge you take on.
“You will also have the satisfaction of knowing that your fundraising has made a real difference to St Giles Hospice and all of the local patients and families that we care for.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic there have been periods when we have had to cancel our fundraising events and close our shops – which has had a major impact on our income – so your support now is more vital than ever. We need to raise £850,000 every single month just to keep our services going and we’ve never needed our community more than we need you today.”
Young people aged 14+ can take part in some challenges when accompanied by an adult. All challenges will operate according to the current government COVID-19 guidelines at the time of the event. For more information about St Giles Hospice treks and challenges and the dates they are available visit www.stgileshospice.com/treks
Picture Cation: Haley Stone taking part in the Cornish Coastal Challenge in 2021.
St Giles Hospice is a registered charity offering high-quality specialist care free of charge for people living with diseases which are terminal or incurable as well as providing support for their families and carers.
Patients come from across the hospice’s catchment area, which ranges from Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Atherstone in the east, to Cannock in the west – and from Burton and Uttoxeter in the north, to Sutton Coldfield and Coleshill in the south.
Care is offered at the hospice’s centres in Whittington and Sutton Coldfield and in patients’ own homes across the region.
St Giles spends over £10 million a year providing its specialist services and with little more than a third of this funded by the Government, the registered charity relies heavily on donations and income generation from the local community.