Hundreds of walkers took a midnight stroll around Calderdale to support Overgate Hospice.
The energy and smiles on people’s faces – along with the glow-sticks – lit up the event as people participated in the pre-event Get Ready to Rumble dance.
Walkers could choose from the six-mile or 13-mile route, but all started off from North Bridge Leisure Centre into Southowram together, with plenty of songs and encouragement for each other.
Fund raiser Faye Henderson said: “Seeing everyone in great spirits just made it feel incredible before the walk had begun. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did. It’s great to see people coming back after last year’s walk!”
The fund-raising team is hoping to have raised £65,000 for the Elland hospice and wanted to thank every one of those that walked, volunteered or supported the event.
One walker on the night said: “The hills were a little challenging but all worth it when we reached the top, it felt like such an achievement, especially with supporters and marshall’s on the route cheering us on!”
The hospice has to raise £6,900 every day towards its running costs and depends on the community to help them reach that.
Here one woman talks about how the hospice helped her and her husband who died in March this year.
The woman, who has asked not to be named, remembers how her life completely changed in January when her husband of 49 years was diagnosed with stomach cancer at the age of 60. Their journey began when they went for a check-up because they wanted to be fit and well, ready for their first grandchild arriving. But his cancer was detected.This is their strory:
“Our first stop was Calderdale hospital where they provided a bed and some treatment for just under nine weeks.
It was draining coming in and out to visit him was heart-breaking, as he was lacking energy, turning pale from the chemotherapy with pain ongoing.
I remember him telling me “I just wanted some peace!” It reminded me of how we were when we had our children up in the early hours of the morning.
“That was when we discussed anywhere he would like to go, Hawaii sounded lovely at first and got him laughing away, even though he was in pain, but coming back down to reality admitting that Hawaii was the last place we could go.
“Overgate Hospice, we don’t have to catch a plane there,” he said.
“As a wife coming from down south, I hadn’t really heard of Overgate Hospice.
“My husband shook his head in disbelief and told me stories of what Overgate Hospice had done for his childhood friend, who sadly died in the hospice last year too, and what they provided afterwards.
“After hearing the stories, I didn’t want to ask any more questions, I knew my husband needed to go to the best and most peaceful place – Overgate Hospice.”
He was transferred to Overgate on Wednesday, March 6.
“The warm atmosphere welcomed us with open arms, the nurses making friendships with us as well as helping us as much as they could. The peaceful surroundings is what we loved the most, as well as my husband the comedic genius flirting with the nurses whenever he could!
“The nurses and the staff didn’t just provide a service of treating my husband; they answered any questions I had and were always there to put their hand on my shoulder for support. I knew we came to the right place.
“On the Wednesday, March 27, 2.30am, I received a call that our son’s wife had gone into labour. Overjoyed was the word to describe the feeling, my husband was fast asleep but I woke him with the exciting news that our first grandchild would be born in matters of hours.
“I remember him holding my hand, giving me a smile and slowly falling back asleep, not knowing that this would be one of our final days together.
“Our first grandchild was born at 7.32pm. Having to leave my husband for that couple of hours broke me into pieces, I was overwhelmed with different emotions of heartbreak and happiness but I knew that my husband was in the best of hands.
“I arrived back to the hospice quite late and was invited to stay in the family room overnight; I was quite exhausted by this point.
“My husband was in his last hours.
“The first thing I had to do was tell the family, even though he couldn’t respond, I went into a private corner to ring them, I didn’t want him to hear the conversation of telling everyone that he was at his final stages.
The family began to come throughout the day, by evening time our grandchild was brought to the hospice to meet his granddad, something he would only get to do once.
“The family telling him they loved him, we knew he could hear.
“Knowing that he was at peace, our family began to leave one by one and me and my husband were left alone.
“I gave him a kiss on the head and told him “God knows how I coped with you for these many years but I thank you for each and every second of them, I bloody love you John.”
“My hand gripped his tighter and I didn’t want to let go.
“My John, 12.01am on March 28 sadly left my side.
“The nurses and the consultant talked to me for a long time, as much as I cried and didn’t want to believe, every word they said made me realise my husband will never leave my side and will always be with me.
“They didn’t just help me, they helped our children throughout the difficult time and supported me with every step into becoming back to my normal self again, moulding our family without him.
“Six months down the line, I have begun coming back into my old self, even though I will not be the same without my John.
“Overgate Hospice has managed to conquer my happiness and without them, I would not be able to carry on.”