A fundraiser who wants to thank St Giles Hospice for the help they gave her mum during her final days living with cancer is urging other women to join this year’s Solstice Walk in Lichfield.
Rachel McLarney is asking mums and daughters throughout the region to round up their family and friends, strap on their fairy wings and hit the road to support the hospice in this spectacular annual night-time event on Saturday 16th June.
Rachel will be launching the Solstice Walk this year and said she is looking forward to being part of such a brilliant occasion, which is eagerly anticipated each summer by the hundreds of fundraisers who love its unique atmosphere.
She said: “I’ve always thought it would be a great event to get involved with because it always looked like such a fun way to support the hospice.
“I’d said to a family friend ‘we must do it’ and it’s great to be involved, talking about how the hospice team supported mum and actually doing the walk. We’re looking forward to a really fun night raising money and awareness for such a wonderful cause.”
Rachel’s mum Lesley McLarney died at home in Mere Green, aged 56, surrounded by her family, after she was diagnosed with lung cancer, and supporting this year’s event is especially poignant for Rachel as the walk is taking place just days before what would have been her 60th birthday.
“Mum was the life and soul of the party, so positive and outgoing, and she would have loved the Solstice Walk,” said Rachel. “She was the mum everyone wants – so caring and loving – and my dad, my brothers and sisters and I miss her every day.”
Lesley, a legal secretary who worked alongside her husband and her daughter at a Sutton Coldfield firm of solicitors, lived with lung cancer for twelve months before she started to need the support St Giles could offer.
“When the cancer progressed mum spent two weeks at St Giles to help her manage her pain, get her symptoms under control and make sure her medication was right, which really helped,” Rachel added. “She wanted to be at home when she died and the Hospice at Home team supported us all as a family in her final days so she could be where she wanted to be – home with her family where she was happiest.
“It was really shocking to lose her at 56, it really felt like it was far too young, so it helped being able to access bereavement support from the hospice too. This gave me the tools to cope with my loss.”
Each year hundreds of women join this ladies-only evening walk around Lichfield, which starts and ends at the Friary Grange Leisure Centre and is the biggest single fundraising event of the year in the St Giles Hospice calendar.
Only women can take part and entrants have to be at least 13 years old, with under 18s accompanied by a responsible adult. Entrants can choose from a full nine-mile walk (two laps of the 4.5-mile course) or a single lap of 4.5 miles.
The evening will begin with a Solstice Sunset Party from 7.30pm with lots of fun-filled activities, music and dancing to get everyone in the party mood. The walk will start at 10pm as the sun sets over Lichfield, and the team from St Giles will be cheering walkers as they cross the finish line with a hot drink and snack, along with a goody bag and the all-important medal.
Zoe Westwood, Fundraising Events Manager at St Giles Hospice, said: “The Solstice Walk is an absolutely fantastic event – it’s a great night out in aid of a great cause and is always very emotional for everyone involved.”
Anyone wanting further details of the event or to register can call 01543 432538 or visit our Solstice Walk page.