Ralph and Elliott's miles in memory of Grandma

Ralph McGurk, 7, and his brother Elliott, 5, live with their mum Claire in Cheshire, but they were regular visitors to the North East as Claire’s Mum Karen lived and worked in the region

Karen, a Macmillan specialist nurse, was admitted for end of life care in December 2020 and she sadly passed away in February this year. During her time at St Oswald’s, Claire and the boys were able to visit Karen and spend precious family time together in her room and the hospice gardens.

Claire said:

“As someone who has worked closely with hospices in her role as a Macmillan nurse, Mum knew what to expect and she decided that when the time came, she wanted to come to St Oswald’s. She was admitted on 11thDecember and during the two months of her stay, I spent quite a lot of time with her, making memories and just being together. Mum was made comfortable by the wonderful staff and as she lived alone, it was a comfort to our family to know she was being cared for when we couldn’t be there.

Ralph had his birthday during Mum’s time at the hospice so staff helped us arrange a birthday party for him, so she could be there too. We knew it would be her last Christmas so we made sure it was special, opening presents and spending the day together. Another day we enjoyed an  afternoon tea and Mum loved getting out into the gardens where she was in her element. Having come straight from hospital where she spent all her time indoors, it meant so much to her, and us, to be able to enjoy the fresh air.”

During their visits to see Grandma at the hospice, Ralph and Elliott, who are both big animal lovers, made friends with Domino the hospice cat. Domino has lived in the grounds of the hospice for many years and she took a shine to the family, which was very much reciprocated.

Claire explains:

“The boys loved Domino and we saw lots of her as her little outdoor house was right outside mum’s bedroom. As her condition worsened, Mum found she struggled to concentrate but she seemed to be more focused when Domino popped by to say hello. She really brought a smile to all of our faces, and the boys enjoyed giving her some little treats.

After Mum passed away, Ralph and Elliott were worried about who would feed Domino. I reassured them that the staff would take care of her, but they suggested raising money for her. I suggested doing something to support the hospice in memory of Grandma and that is where the idea for their fundraising challenge came from.”

Ralph and Elliott decided to ride 60 laps of an area close to their home– one for every year of the Grandma’s life –  cycling around 12 miles in total. Over one weekend in June, the boys and Claire pedalled their way round the course, while neighbours turned out to cheer them. They were delighted to see their online fundraising page inundated with donations.

Claire finished:

“The boys were absolute superstars. Twelve miles is a lot for little legs so we did it over a couple of days. Afterwards I threw a little tea party for them and presented them with their medals and they were both so proud. Our community of friends, neighbours and family were so supportive  and we were delighted to have raised £1072 for the hospice.

It means a lot that the money raised will help the hospice to support other families like ours. Mum was so special, we were very close and when she passed away, a part of me went with her. I am so grateful for the incredible care she received at St Oswald’s and the love the staff showed to my sister and my boys and I. They made a very difficult time a little easier to bear.”

Well done to Ralph and Elliott for their wonderful efforts and fundraising fabulousness. The money they have raised will fund over two full days and nights of specialist nursing care for one of our Inpatients and mean our team can offer the same love and care that their Grandma received, to another patient.

We agree with Claire – what a pair of superstars! Thank you so much to everyone who supported Ralph and Elliott’s challenge. If you would like to sponsor them, you can visit the page here.

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