A Bloxwich family who were supported by St Giles’s Hospice at Home team are urging women to sign up for the charity’s Starlight Walk in September.
For Sue Aldridge, the care that the Walsall Hospice at Home team was able to provide for her husband John meant he could die at home, with his family around him.
Now Sue is encouraging women from across the area to put their best foot forward and take part in the 7.5 mile walk, which takes place on September 15th.
John, a former post man from Bloxwich, was diagnosed with a brain tumour several years ago.
For the couple, who were at school together and have been married almost 42 years with three children, the news was devastating.
“John had been complaining of a headache for a while and it wasn’t getting any better, so the GP arranged for a scan,” said Sue.
“But John collapsed at home before the appointment, so I rushed him to the Manor Hospital in a taxi, thinking he’d had a stroke.”
The couple started to receive Hospice at Home support after John was admitted to the Goscote Lane Hospice for symptom control.
“Kim, the Hospice at Home co-ordinator got in touch after John was discharged to see if we needed any support,” said Sue.
“When she offered night sits for John I was so relieved. Because of his condition, John woke 7-8 times a night and I slept on a fold away bed in the living room to make sure he was OK.
“Being able to get a good night’s sleep made all the difference in my ability to cope – I had some of my darkest days after John had a few bad nights.”
The team also visited in the day to provide personal care and practical and emotional support for John and Sue.
“I really can’t praise the team enough for their kindness and exceptional care for John and for their brilliant support of all the family,” said Sue.
“John wanted to stay at home for as long as possible and without the help we’ve received that wouldn’t have happened. He died at home after spending a lovely last day with his family earlier this year and we are so grateful for those memories.
“It’s through events like the Starlight Walk that St Giles can fund the Hospice at Home service so I’d encourage as many women as possible to get their boots on and help fundraise for a brilliant service.”
St Giles events fundraiser Zoe Westwood said the Starlight Walk, which starts at Aldridge Community Centre, is a night of celebration and remembrance.
“The Starlight Walk really is a magical night and it would be great to see the streets of Aldridge filled with people in fairy wings and fancy dress taking part in the walk,” she said.
“The walk starts and ends at Aldridge Community Centre and you can choose from a full 7.5 mile walk which is 2 laps of the course or a single lap of 3.75 miles if you prefer.
“And the walk is now open to participants aged 13 upwards although all under 18s must be accompanied by a minor, so it’s a great chance to walk as a family or with friends.”
Register for the Starlight Walk here www.stgileshospice.com/starlightwalk