On the night of July 6th, a team from the Derbyshire Constabulary and North East Derbyshire MP, Lee Rowley, will don pink tutus and bunny ears and take to the streets of Chesterfield at Ashgate Hospicecare’s Markovitz Sparkle Night Walk to raise money for patients diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. The woman who will be leading the team on the night is former lecturer, Samantha Parker, whose husband Stuart Parker was a well-loved member of the Derbyshire Constabulary for 30 years before he was diagnosed with a grade four brain tumour in December 2017 at the age of 53.
Stuart’s diagnosis began to have huge impact on the couple, not only emotionally, but financially as well. The family needed to pay for a chemotherapy treatment that was only available privately, but which was vital in maintaining Stuart’s quality of life. Samantha’s eldest daughter, Jasmin, decided to start a fundraiser for her dad’s treatment and they were overwhelmed by the support they received from the community and particularly from Derbyshire Constabulary. The news of their fundraising activities was circulated to other police forces throughout the country who supported them in order to help Stuart get the treatment he needed.
Stuart was referred to Ashgate Hospicecare in September 2018 and spent the last weeks of his life on the ward receiving round the clock care. Sadly, Stuart died on the ward in October 2018. Since then, Samantha and her family have been even more determined to raise awareness about brain cancer and raise money for Ashgate Hospicecare to help more patients like Stuart.
Samantha said, “I had no doubt that, after the generous support we received during 2018, the Derbyshire Constabulary would be keen to get involved in the Markovitz Sparkle Night Walk this year in Stuart’s memory. We’re also really pleased that our local MP, Lee Rowley, will be joining the team too. It’s going to be a fantastic event
and we’re so proud to support Ashgate Hospicecare in this way. We would like the money raised to go towards clinical staff training to ensure that more people in Stuart’s position can get the care they need when diagnosed with a life-limiting illness.”
Peter Goodman, Chief Constable of the Derbyshire Constabulary, said, “We are thrilled to take part in the Markovitz Sparkle Night Walk for Stuart. He was a fantastic police officer and a good friend to many and we want to do whatever we can to ensure that anybody else who finds themselves in such an unfortunate position as Stuart and his family receives the best care possible. This can only be done by raising awareness of brain tumours and raising sponsorship money for places like Ashgate Hospicecare so that can provide excellent care to more patients.”
This year, Ashgate Hospicecare are celebrating five years of their Sparkle Night Walk and it will be their biggest event to date with 3,000 participants already signed up. They are hoping to raise over £200,000 this year to bring care to local people with a life-limiting illness and their families.
Carl Jones, Fundraising Manager, said, “We feel very fortunate that Samantha has chosen to raise money for Ashgate Hospicecare by taking part in the Markovitz Sparkle Night Walk, and that she has got Derbyshire Constabulary and Lee Rowley on board too. It’s only thanks to people like Samantha and her team that we are able to continue to bring specialist hospice care to those who need it. We hope that their involvement will raise awareness of the fact that life-limiting conditions can affect younger people, like Stuart, and that it sends a message to the community of the importance of supporting Ashgate Hospicecare.”
If you would like to donate to Samantha’s fundraising page and raise vital funds for Ashgate Hospicecare, please go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROSomeoneSpecialPage?pageUrl=StuartParker6.