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I am lucky and honoured to be working for such a great charity

A couple of years ago, a good friend of mine was looked after at Thames Hospice. Although I never visited him at Pine Lodge, I know the care he had was unbelievable.

Near to the end of his life, my friend’s wife wheeled him up to the local pub to celebrate his birthday - although everyone really knew it was a goodbye drink. The last time I saw him, he was half the man he was, but he was happy and he passed away at the Hospice soon after. In my head, I pictured the Hospice to be a dark, sad place and thought how awful it would be to have to go there at the end of your life.

In 2013, my sister’s mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer. Last October, her condition rapidly went downhill and she was in a lot of pain, so she was admitted to Thames Hospice for respite. I visited her, but I was so nervous that I would cry in front of her, again imagining her in bed, in pain, in a darkened room. How wrong was I?

I was so surprised at how lovely and bright the reception area was. My sister met me and took me through to her mother-in-law’s room, where she was sat upright in her bed, big smile on her face, rosy cheeked and sparkly eyed. I wanted to cry with happiness, not sadness, at how great she looked; the best in a very long time. She said how lovely the staff were and how happy she was and I was so relieved; from that moment on, my perception of the Hospice was blown out of the water. I am so glad that she spent her last few weeks at Thames Hospice and our family are eternally grateful for the care we were all shown.

A month on, a friend called saying she had seen a Community and Events Manager job advertised at Thames Hospice. Without hesitation, I applied for the role and screamed with joy when they called to say I had been successful in my interview and they’d like me to start in January 2015.

It’s been all go from the beginning and I've not stopped since! My main remit is to support our Community Supporter Care Executive and Event Fundraiser to ensure we are providing the best opportunities for our supporters to raise funds for us and to introduce and manage our mass and challenge events programme. This year I have added seven new challenge events to our calendar, which we hope are appealing to a wider variety of supporters. You can see full listings here.

On June 27th, we held our annual Sunflower Walk at the beautiful Virginia Water, in Surrey. This is our biggest fundraiser of the summer, as well as a chance for families and friends to celebrate the life of a loved one. More than 300 people joined us for what was a wonderful day and we look to have raised more than £25,000 - a fantastic total! I know it seems early and perhaps a little bonkers, but we are now in the midst of organising our Santa Dash. Our much-loved festive fundraiser takes place in Swinley Forest, Bracknell, on Sunday 29th November. Posters are being designed as we speak, Santa outfits have been ordered and people are already booking. We are introducing a more challenging bike ride and you can find out more information or book here.

My relationship with Thames Hospice has been an eventful and extremely blessed one so far. I am lucky and honoured to be working for such a great charity and for people who really do care. May my journey continue with full force!

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