Two patients from Chelmsford-based The J’s Hospice bravely led a team of carers and supporters in a climb over London’s O2 in the blistering June sunshine to raise much-needed funds.
Patient William Creasey from Romford was the brains behind the expedition – knowing that his J’s carer Mark Cannon is afraid of heights! William had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and was the one of the oldest living patients with this condition in the UK. Unfortunately he passed away earlier this year, before he could make his O2 dream a reality.
William made lots of friends through the social activities organised by The J’s Hospice, including patients Robert Smith and Lee Cracknell. These friends wanted to continue planning their O2 challenge and take part in it in William’s memory, along with William’s sister Diane Reynolds, his aunt Thelma Allen and friends and supporters from The J’s Hospice.
Robert suffers from a brain tumour and whilst he is mobile, Lee is wheelchair-bound, making this a logistically challenging trip! The O2 team made every effort to balance the necessary safety needs with the team’s desire to achieve William’s dream.
Whilst William had an active life with his family before being introduced to The J’s Hospice he was somewhat isolated from people his own age, other than his family members. The J’s introduced a new facet into William’s life, and through Inspire – the hospice’s social group – he made many friends and enjoyed some fun times. The J’s enabled William to enjoy many new experiences and he in turn has inspired the other members to ‘take life by the horns’ and really enjoy every moment of it.
Recent adventures included a trip to Paris on the Eurostar, up the Helipad at Broomfield Hospital and on a Fireboat down the Thames to relive a childhood dream. Together with his J’s carers William was constantly looking for new and innovative escapades to involve himself with. The J’s Hospice is all about bringing life back and enhancing young adult patients’ lives.
Other members of their challenge team include Mark Cannon, Sue Upton and Shelley Borley from The J’s Hospice, keen volunteer Barry Townsend, Barry Smith and Jeff Parmer, uncle to The J’s very first patient Milan.