Shelagh Mcdonough, 83, is on a remarkable fundraising expedition

Shelagh Mcdonough is 83 and has lived in West Norwood for the last 32 years. Shelagh is now on the third-leg of a five-day journey, travelling across five South East London boroughs on her mobility scooter, to raise money for St Christopher’s where she has been receiving hospice care for the last four months.

Shelagh says, “You don’t have to stop living life just because you’re old. You can enjoy yourself, help others and die well when the time comes.”

En route Shelagh has already met the Mayor of the London Borough of Bromley, Cllr Kathy Bance MBE and today is scheduled to meet the Mayor of the London Borough of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock. Shelagh is also hoping to meet the Mayor of London, Sadiq Kahn before her London road trip is complete.

It was seeing live footage of the hospice’s London to Paris bike ride back in June that inspired Shelagh to embark on her trip. Shelagh comments, “I was sitting in St Christopher’s café watching this wonderful bike ride and I thought that I’d really like to support the hospice too. I’m not in a position to donate money but the hospice has changed my life and although I can no longer cycle, I could make a journey on my scooter. Fortunately my son Martin recently bought me an amazing electric scooter; it’s like a Harley Davidson!”

Shelagh, who worked as a teacher in the local area for much of her life, lives near Crystal Palace; which is the intersection of the five London boroughs that St Christopher’s supports. A sponsored journey through all five boroughs seemed the perfect route, and Shelagh’s friends have generously given Shelagh a place to stay each evening, so that she can complete her trip over five days.

Shelagh has breast cancer and has suffered with chest and heart issues as well as having cellulitis in both legs. Shelagh spoke to her doctor to ask where she could go to find people who would talk openly about death and dying, because no one else would: her doctor referred her to St Christopher’s.

“When I walk into here, it is like a different world” says Shelagh. “Everyone is so positive, friendly and welcoming. I feel so much happier and I’ve met so many lovely people. I want to spend the rest of what life I have left feeling positive. Everybody has to die, that’s just a fact, but I want to approach the end of my life in a spiritual way and not allow negative feelings or thoughts to be part of my life and I find that at St Christopher’s I can do that. I am a glass half full kind of person.”

Shelagh visits the hospice in Sydenham every Thursday; in the morning she uses the gym (sometimes listening to music) and works on exercises to improve circulation that will help to lessen the pain in her legs. She has lunch in the café, and then enjoys music and art therapy sessions in the afternoon.

Remi Knight, fundraiser at St Christopher’s comments, “We have been absolutely inspired by Shelagh’s efforts to fundraise for the hospice. A five day journey is quite arduous and we’re very touched that Shelagh has been so affected by the support that she’s offered here, that she’s making such a commitment on our behalf. Please support Shelagh in her fantastic effort.”

To support Shelagh’s journey, please text: MCDO83£5 to 70070

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