Thousands of people get set to walk 10k for their local hospice

On Saturday July 7th, thousands of Markovitz Sparkle Night walkers, wearing bright pink t-shirts and flashing bunny ears, will take to the streets of Chesterfield to raise money for their local hospice, Ashgate Hospicecare which is based in Old Brampton, Chesterfield, but looks after patients and their families all across North Derbyshire.

Walkers will start to arrive at the Proact Stadium from 7:30pm, where Jake Quickenden will be performing later that evening. They will then begin walking from the Proact Stadium at 10pm, and the 10 kilometre route will take walkers along the A61 bypass, part of which will be closed to make way for the walkers and the entertainment strip, and will wind all the way down to Hasland, before circling back towards the town centre and finishing back at the Proact Stadium.

Linda and Theresa have been walking Ashgate Hospicecare’s night walks for 7 years in memory of Linda’s son, David, who died at the Hospice at the age of 24.

Linda said, “It’s one day a year when we can do something in David’s memory and do something for the Hospice. We always get David’s photo printed on our t-shirts. Even though everybody is doing the walk for their loved ones, it’s a fun walk, not a sad walk. We have a laugh. Everybody’s in good spirits and we always speak to people we’ve never met before. It’s lovely.

David was diagnosed with a condition called neurofibromatosis at birth. This caused him to have a brain tumour at the age of 24. He was having migraines and this went on for a couple of weeks. We went to see a doctor and was referred to Sheffield for an operation, but when they went in to operate, they realised that they couldn’t do anything as the tumour was on his brain stem. He died more or less a week after that operation which was such a shock; we didn’t even know that David’s condition was terminal. Sheffield transferred him to Ashgate after his operation. He woke up, but he had brain damage so his speech was slurred and he needed help with feeding.

When David arrived at Ashgate, they were still looking at what they could do to get him home. The plan was to get him up on his feet playing snooker as there used to be a snooker table in here. He had his own room at the Hospice, it was a big room and all his family and all his friends could come and be with him as much as they liked. Having the time and space for us all to be with David at the end was so important and it’ll stay with us all forever.

When he died, it was very peaceful and the nurses made sure of that. The day before he

died, he seemed to perk up. He was joking and trying to laugh. We’d got the telly on and he was trying to dance to the telly in his bed which gave his brothers, Michael and Paul, the chance to enjoy those final days with David. That night they gave Paul a pop up bed so that he could stay next to him overnight. David was very close to his whole family and, as the years have gone by, being able to spend that quality time with him at the end has been really comforting for all of us. After he died, the Hospice offered counselling to his whole family, which was really helpful.

For somebody like me who’s grieving, doing the Sparkle Night Walk really helps me; having the whole community coming together and doing something positive. You feel like everybody who is walking at Sparkle is in the same boat. There’s always somebody you know who has had cancer or another awful disease. Even if you’ve not experienced bereavement yourself, there are always people you know who might need Ashgate.”

It seems a long time, 11 years, since David died, but it’s not for me. I’ll never get over it. It feels sometimes like people think you should get over it, but he’s my son so he’ll always be with me. Remembering David at the Sparkle Night Walk is special for us in so many ways, and so we’ll continue to walk it and continue to support the Hospice as long as it’s going!”

Whether you’re an individual, a group of friends or a local business team, you can help to bring hospice care to local people by joining our 10km Markovitz Sparkle Night Walk on Saturday 7th July 2018! Just go to www.sparklenightwalk.org.uk or you can call the Ashgate Hospicecare Events Team on 01246 233404 or email events@ashgatehospicecare.org.uk to sign up. We look forward to seeing you there!

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