“I remember sitting with my dad one day, holding his hand. One of the nurses came in and rearranged his pillows and made him more comfortable in the bed, and then on the way out, seeing that I was upset, she just gave me a comforting rub on my shoulder. It was a small thing, but for me, it was so kind and it made me feel that I wasn’t on my own. That’s why we do the Fun Walk every year.
“I’ve got lots of friends involved in the Fun Walk too, because even if you haven’t had close contact with the hospice, everyone seems to know someone whose life has been touched and helped by St Christopher’s,” reflects Sam Packham, 48, from Bromley.
Sam’s dad, Geoffrey Rye, died at the hospice in 2005 aged 67, after a brief two week stay.
“We had mixed emotions when he came to the hospice. We’d received a little bit of care at home and we didn’t want to think that he was so close to the end of his days, but in some ways it was hard for my mum trying to make him comfortable at home and at St Christopher’s we knew that he was going to get the very best care and be well looked after, which he was.
I’ve got lots of friends involved in the Fun Walk, everyone seems to know someone whose life has been touched and helped by St Christopher’s
“We saw not only how compassionate the nurses and doctors were but also that they would have a laugh and a joke with my dad too. Nothing was too much trouble. Even when the doctors spoke to us to let us know that dad was near the end, the way that they spoke to us and had that difficult conversation was really special.”
Sam, and her friends and family have now walked the Fun Walk a spectacular six times, and raised hundreds of pounds for the hospice.
“The Fun Walk is just wonderful,” continues Sam. “We walked the 11 mile route last time and when we came to cross roads drivers were tooting all the walkers to encourage us along, it felt like a great thing to be doing for such an important cause. My husband Anthony even ran the London Marathon for St Christopher’s, all because we know what a difference the hospice makes.”