In Rowcroft Hospice’s first big in-person fundraising event in over 15 months, over 370 women and girls took part in The Sleep Walk on Saturday 3 July, so far raising over £27,000 to care for local people with life-limiting illnesses across South Devon. This year, with the exciting theme of superheroes, the MARVEL-ous participants donned capes, fun masks and headbands and completed a circular walk of five-or ten-miles, starting and finishing at Torre Abbey Meadows in Torquay.
While Rowcroft was unable to hold its usual mass-participation style event, the charity successfully adapted the format of The Sleep Walk in order to maximise social distancing, by introducing staggered start times throughout the early evening to keep everyone safe. In addition, the charity is offering a ‘virtual’ Sleep Walk option, for those preferring to do a walk in their own way at a time of their choosing between 3-11 July. This virtual event is still open for last-minute sign-ups until 11 July.
Sleep Walker Nicky White walked 10 miles in memory of her colleague Pam who was a midwife at Torbay Hospital. Nicky said: “We’re walking in memory of our lovely friend and colleague Pam Haddy who was taken from us last year – far too soon, far too suddenly. She was only in her early forties. So our team’s called ‘Four Pam Haddy’ – because there’s four of us. We’re hoping our work colleagues will give, give, give to celebrate her memory and for the hospice.”
Michelle Davis walked ten miles in memory of her father, Robert Edwards, who was cared for by the hospice last year. Michelle said: “My dad passed away just before Christmas and Rowcroft’s Hospice at Home team were fantastic. He died of Leukaemia. And so we want to do something for Rowcroft.”
Sponsored this year by Kitson’s Solicitors, The Sleep Walk is Rowcroft’s flagship fundraising event. With sponsorship money still coming in, it is hoped that the event will eventually raise over £30,000 for the hospice.
“It was fantastic to see our women and girl superheroes getting together and having such a brilliant time!” said Alexia Croft, Rowcroft’s Events Manager. “The costumes were out of this world – so colourful and totally fabulous – and it was wonderful to see people really embracing their superhero characters. They are all true hospice heroes!
“We’d like to say a massive thank to all our superhero Sleep Walkers – including our virtual Sleep Walkers – who undertook this awesome mission to raise funds for the hospice. We’re so lucky to be supported by so many amazing women and girls in our community. Having had such a tough time over the last year, this support to the hospice means more than ever and will make such a huge difference for local patients and their families.”
Rowcroft’s annual Sleep Walk has raised funds totalling nearly £1.5m in the eleven years that the event has been running. Money raised from this year’s event will help fund Rowcroft’s Hospice at Home service that provides expert care, support and compassion to local patients at home in their last two weeks of life. This vital service makes such a difference for families across the South Devon region – from Dartmouth to Dawlish and up onto Dartmoor. The charity hopes to expand the Hospice at Home service by recruiting more nurses and healthcare assistants in order to support more local families in need.
“Our patients tell us that, for them, home is where the heart is, and more than anywhere else they would prefer to be at home when they die,” said Karenne Weaver, Rowcroft’s Hospice at Home Manager. “Through Hospice at Home, we enable patients to fulfil this wish. The money raised by The Sleep Walk will help us to expand our Hospice at Home service so that more people can feel the love and support of Rowcroft’s care in the place where they want it most – at home.”
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