Real Stories
08 July 2024

' Walking was kind of our thing, and it’s something I really miss' - Fundraising in memory of lost loved ones

Real Stories
08 July 2024

CancerCare has launched a new virtual fundraising challenge with the aim of raising £10,000. The ‘Every Step Counts’ campaign encourages participants to take time out of their busy lives to enjoy the breath-taking Bay landscape and its surroundings, all while raising vital funds for CancerCare.

Lizzie and Iain and their eight-month-old son, James John, are one of the first families to embark on the Every Step Counts challenge for CancerCare. Over the next year, the trio will complete the walks in memory of James’ late grandmother and his uncle, John.

Lizzie has benefited from CancerCare’s services immensely over the past 12 months. On March 14 2023, Lizzie’s brother John suddenly died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome. John’s eldest son, Freddie, was just 22 months old, and his youngest, Ollie, was just eight days old. Lizzie was also pregnant with James at the time.

“My Mum then developed a complex mental illness, and she passed away just nine months later on 14 December when James was two months old,” Lizzie explained. “I cannot find words to express the pain I feel for the rest of my family left behind.”

Lizzie was welcomed into CancerCare and has since received a course of bereavement counselling sessions.

She continued: “CancerCare has been a safe haven and shining light to me throughout this storm. I’ve been provided with a safe space for me to pour out the often-overwhelming emotions bubbling within me, and I’m also able to feel understood and validated.

“I feel very fortunate to have found in CancerCare, a community of quiet solidarity where without saying a word you feel understood. My counsellor has been a constant in my life, helping me navigate a world that I've no longer recognised at times. I’m so grateful for this support and it’s why I've been moved to fundraise for CancerCare.”

Lizzie said that the Every Step Counts challenge felt like the perfect fundraising challenge for the family. Walking gave her a sense of comfort and warm nostalgia:

“My family would enjoy many a walk – even if wet, wild and windy - in the Lakes or around the Bay. Then, we’d head back to my brother’s or parents’ home for a mountain of sausage and bacon butties. It was kind of our thing, and it’s something I really miss.

“Taking part in the challenge and escaping into nature feels homely and familiar. It also feels like our baby's special time with his Uncle and Grandma by sharing in one of their favourite pastimes.”

James has completed two walks so far, as Lizzie explained: “James had a lovely time gumming his special Uncle John and Grandma birds at the top of Silverdale's Pepperpot and Arnside Knott so far!

“It's been great to discover new, kid-friendly walking routes and to stumble across little gems on the way, like a campsite play-park, calves at a barn and a woodland dappled in sunlight - we'll be redoing them for sure!

“I hope that by joining in the challenge and fundraising for CancerCare other families will know that they don't have to go it alone and they can receive the same compassionate, nurturing and supportive care we have. We're so grateful to all our families and friends who have been so generous in their time and donations supporting us.”

Last year, CancerCare’s therapists spent just over 10,000 hours working with and listening to adults and children in one-to-one therapy sessions. The total raised in the Every Step Counts challenge – which runs until April 2025 - will go a long way in ensuring that CancerCare can continue to provide vital services to local people.

During the challenge, 12 walks located across the geographical patch – North Lancashire, South Cumbria and Barrow-in-Furness – have been planned. The walks vary in difficulty but are suited to everyone, irrespective of walking experience. On three of the routes, an electric tramper is available to hire. You can create your own challenge, taking on as many routes as you like, in whatever order and over a chosen timeframe.

Upon sign-up, participants will receive a walker’s pack in return for a £15 donation. This will include a walker’s information booklet detailing maps and information on fundraising, as well as a unique, handcrafted crocheted toy bird to take on each walk.

We encourage all hikers to take a photo at the summit or specified viewing spot with the bird before sharing to social media using the hashtag #EveryStepCountsCancerCare.

Walkers will be rewarded for their efforts, too – if participants complete three walks they will receive a bronze certificate, eight walks a silver certificate and a gold certificate will be awarded on the completion of 12 walks.

CancerCare’s journey to £10,000 begins with a single step. Let’s make every single one count this summer.

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