Sixty runners who proudly ran for #TeamARHC at the sixth Saucony Cambridge Half Marathon on Sunday 5 March, have now raised over £23,000 for the Hospice Charity, beating last year’s already impressive £22,000 total! Many of those taking on the challenge have close personal links to the Hospice, now based in its new home in purpose-built state-of-the-art facilities at Shelford Bottom.
Those representing, running and fundraising for the Hospice, on what was a blustery day, included staff members, supporters and the family and friends of individuals who have received care from Arthur Rank Hospice and its services. Two such runners taking on the 13.1 mile challenge were Shannon Freeman and Andrew Jakes (known as Jake), who were running in memory of father and friend Gary Freeman. Gary fought a short five month battle with cancer as Shannon explains:
“On the 6th of Feb 2015 my family’s world was turned upside down when my Dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. In a month Dad went from living a normal life to being in constant pain and having to use a wheel chair. The doctors suggested my dad visit Arthur Rank Hospice so that he could get the right care, medication and rest he needed. As much as I wanted dad at home with us I knew this was something we could not put off any longer.
After staying at Arthur rank for two weeks he finally returned home. Dad spoke about the hospice constantly from then on. From the care the nurses gave him and the chats they had in the middle of the night when dad couldn’t sleep to the extra pudding he received at dinner.
When the time came on the 3rd of July and Dad was too poorly to be looked after at home I felt so comforted knowing my Dad was in a place he loved so much. We could stay with him day and night. The nurses assured my dad was as comfortable as possible and felt no pain at such a difficult time. On the 5th of July 2015 I held my dad’s and said goodbye for the last time.
The care didn’t stop after my dad passed away. Me and my Mum both visited the Arthur Rank Hospice regularly and got to speak to volunteers there. This has played a big part in the life I live today. With the aftercare, I got to visit the place he loved so much every few weeks which made me feel much closer to Dad.”
Jake – who lost four and a half stone in eight months and (despite damaged ankle ligaments and shoulder surgery) crossed the finish line in a time of 2 hours, 11 minutes, 47 seconds – adds: “Gary was one of the good ones you meet in life. It was an honour that I could do this for him”.
Shannon followed with a finish time of 2 hours, 44 minutes, 32 seconds.
The pair raised a joint total of £2434 and their sterling efforts alongside other teams like the Wilson Trio (over £1000), the Rolland/Watson family (over £3200), the Van Emmis family (over £1200) and too many more to mention, have now brought this year’s grand total to £23,168 (as of 11 April).
Amy Bidwell, Community Fundraiser comments: “The commitment demonstrated by every single person who takes on a challenge event such as this, is truly admirable. It’s also a wonderful way for people who may have received our care – or been close to someone who has – to give something back and continue their journey with the Arthur Rank Hospice: their efforts will provide direct funding to care for others who may find themselves in a similar situation at some point in the future.”