Mums, daughters, aunties and girlfriends are being asked to join forces and help smash a massive £1 million milestone for St Giles Hospice at the Solstice Walk next month.
Hundreds of women from across the region will gather in Lichfield on Saturday 22nd June for the annual ladies-only night-time walk around the city and St Giles is asking as many female fundraisers as possible to join them for this momentous occasion.
As the event celebrates its 12th year, organisers hope the total raised will push past £1 million to fund the vital work of the hospice, which supports people with a potentially incurable illness and their families.
St Giles Hospice Director of Fundraising Elinor Eustace said: “The Solstice Walk is always such an emotional and magical event and this year we’re asking as many ladies as possible to help us march past the £1 million barrier and make this an extra special night.
“It takes a community to make a hospice and we’ve had so much wonderful support over the last 12 years that we’d like everyone who’s helped make it all possible to join us and celebrate this milestone.
“Every single pound matters and we’re asking ladies young and old to grab their fairy wings, round up friends and families and revel in the unforgettable atmosphere while raising vital funds for their local hospice.”
Among the fundraisers this year will be Burton mother and daughter Suzi and Kiera Baxter. The pair will take part in memory of their much-loved dad and granddad George Hope, and they are urging as many walkers as possible to join them.
George, who was from Tamworth, was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in October 2017 and was supported by St Giles in the months before he died. Suzi said she and Kiera were joining the Solstice Walk to thank the hospice for the amazing support the whole family had received.
“We’re very excited to be a part of something that is so close to our hearts,” she said. “I know my father would be very proud of both myself and Kiera in doing this walk in his memory.
“I wish I could give the world to St Giles for how they helped my father and our family through an awful time.”
Suzi added that her dad was a fiercely independent man and that the team from St Giles did everything they could to keep him at home for as long as possible.
“Once, before they arrived, he collapsed while trying to mow his lawn so they mowed it for him. The staff went above and beyond for my father,” she said.
“When he was admitted to Whittington the staff worked to manage his pain and to make sure he was comfortable, but also got to know him as a person. Dad could be a bit cheeky and was a regular sight on the ward on his mobility scooter. He really enjoyed a chat and a laugh with the nurses.
“I honestly could never say thank you enough. St Giles make an awful time somehow bearable and, for that, I thank everyone so deeply.”
Kiera, who was just 13 when her granddad died, has already had her head shaved to raise more than £4,500 for the hospice.
“They really took the time to get to know my granddad and get to know us as a family and the staff were very supportive to each and every one of us,” said Kiera.
“I want to say a massive thank you for everything St Giles does, not only for my granddad but for each person they have looked after past, present and future.”
The 2019 walk will start and finish at The Friary Grange Leisure Centre, in Eastern Avenue, and family and friends are welcome to join in the fun at the Solstice Sunset Party while they wait to cheer fundraisers off at the start line.
The Solstice Walk, the hospice’s biggest single fundraising event of the year, also features a moment of reflection, allowing everyone to join together and fill the sky with bubbles in memory of loved ones.
Entry is £16 per person, which will entitle all participants to come along to the sunset party and take home a goody bag and commemorative medal. Walkers can choose from a full nine-mile walk (two laps of the 4.5-mile course) or a single lap of 4.5 miles. You have to be at least 13 years old to take part, and all under-18s must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
The evening will start with the sunset party from 7.30pm with fun-filled activities, music and dancing to get everyone raring to go. The walk begins at 10pm as the sun sets over Lichfield, with the team from St Giles cheering walkers across the finish line.