Home > News > A battle, a legacy and a promise

A battle, a legacy and a promise

St Oswald’s Hospice have a very close place in my heart as they took amazing care of my dad in his final days.

Mark from Wideopen has supported the Hospice for the last 20 years along with his mam. In 2020, his mam became seriously ill with Covid-19. It was then the pair struck up a deal, for her to promise to keep fighting it, and for Mark to lose weight and get fit. Mark tells us more:

Sadly, despite a brave battle, my mam wasn’t able to fulfil her side of the deal, so I set about making damn sure I did mine, and to make her proud looking down on me. Apprehensively, I went off to the Lake District to hit the hills. 22 stone is quite a bulk to lug up a 3000 ft mountain, and by the time I'd reached the first check point I was hyperventilating, ready to quit, and wanted to turn back. Luckily my brother pushed me to keep going, until I did it, and I absolutely loved it. From that day I was hooked, marking the start of my mission.

After a few months of more walks and shedding more bulk, we thought we would set a challenge and decided we should walk The West Highland Way. In short, it's a tough trek from Milngavie (Glasgow) to Fort William (Highlands), 96 miles in total. Many people do it over 7/8 days, but we did it in 6, just to make it more testing. I lost 4.5stone in preparation for the walk, down to a leaner 17.5 stone and felt so much fitter for it.

Our challenge started to build traction so we decided to do it for charity, and St Oswald’s seemed the most appropriate. After my dad spent his final weeks in here, my mam supported through the fundraising events for years. Although it was many years ago now, I still remember how amazing the staff were, they really helped us as a family and we can’t thank them enough.

I thoroughly enjoyed completing the challenge, it was nice to be doing something for a good cause too. Day one started with a long 21 mile slog, and it was tough getting up each day after only a short rest, knowing what still waited ahead of us, but I had a promise to keep, and couldn’t have felt more motivated. It was a great way for me to turn a sad situation into something better, it left me a nice legacy to stick to knowing my mam was watching.

People on the route were so generous, random people were sponsoring us along the way and whilst we were stocking up behand in supermarkets. The encouragement was incredible, and our friends (and some strangers too!) really helped us through this challenge. I’d definitely do something again, maybe The Great Glen Way next, it’s all one big adventure and I’m loving it.