Treetops Hospice Care is asking people, young and old, to complete 5,000 steps to raise money for the local charity.

Starlight Steps is taking place on Friday 15 May, the original date of the charity’s annual fundraising event, Starlight Strut, now postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Walk, jog, run, bounce, dance, hop, skip or jump – inside or outside

Lorraine Ray, fundraising events lead, explained how people can get involved:

“We are asking people far and wide to support Treetops by completing 5,000 Starlight Steps and get sponsored by family and friends. It’s free to take part and a fun way to get your daily exercise.

“You can do the 5,000 steps however you want – the choice is yours. You could walk, jog, run, bounce, dance, hop, skip or jump – inside or outside – at any time of the day or night on Friday 15 May.

It would be wonderful if everyone who took part raised enough money for another night’s care

“But most importantly, please help us make each and every step count, by asking your family and friends to sponsor you.

“It costs £105 for one of our Hospice at Home nurses to provide overnight care for a terminally-ill patient in their own home. It would be wonderful if everyone who took part made this their fundraising goal – to simply raise enough money for another night’s care.”

Treetops provides nursing care and emotional support for adults with life-limiting conditions such as cancer, motor neurone disease and heart and respiratory conditions.

The original Starlight Strut, Derby’s biggest charity night walk, was postponed earlier this year along with many other fundraising events organised by the hospice.

Jayne Walker and her daughter Clare Smith had planned to take part as ‘Barbara’s Pink Ladies Team’ in memory of Jayne’s mum, Barbara Walker. Barbara, from Long Eaton, died in October 2018 from bowel cancer, aged 83.

Mum always had a smile and never complained

Jayne, 58, from Long Eaton, was the very first to sign up to Starlight Steps and explained more about her reason for taking part:

Pcture of woman sitting in a garden

Barbara Walker

“My mum had had a stroke in 2015 and my dad became her main carer. In September 2018 I realised that being Mum’s main carer at the age of 85 was getting a bit too much for him, so I decided to start working part-time so I could help. Unfortunately just as I was working my notice from my full time job, mum was taken ill.

“She was taken into hospital and we were told she’d got bowel cancer. She was very poorly with it and we got told that she had limited life left. Mum wanted to come home and was released from hospital the next day. We didn’t know what to do and what to expect. It was such a whirlwind.

“It was such a shock, as I’d planned to do so many things with her when I went part-time, then it was taken away before it even started. Mum always had a smile and never complained. We used to have a right laugh when we used to go out – I used to make her wear silly hats.”

On the nights the Treetops nurse came, I knew she was being really looked after

Jayne moved in with her parents to help them.

“We had some basic carers come in, but Treetops offered us Hospice at Home nurses for night sits. The nurses were really caring. They spent time with my dad – he was glad of someone to talk to about everyday things and even show them around the house, especially Mum’s dollhouse which he is very proud off. Dad was struggling with the thought of losing Mum and was finding it very hard. They had been married for 63 years and he is still missing her daily.

“I didn’t get much sleep and on the nights the Treetops nurse came, I felt really relaxed because I knew she was being really looked after. It was so nice to have someone that you knew was qualified to look after mum, so you could sleep. I knew they would have come and get me if there’d been any problems. Unfortunately, the nurses only came for two nights in the end as mum only stayed with us for eighteen days. It was a privilege to have spent that time with Mum.

The support was there when we needed it

“I’d just like to thank Treetops. The support was there when we needed it and there was no fuss or fight. They just came and helped when it was needed.

“Mum was very supportive of us all and we feel like we’ve lost the head of the family. She was very active. She did crafts, knitting, cross stitch and embroidery. She used to work for the wool shop in Long Eaton and had lots and lots of wool. We used to joke with her that she got paid in wool not money!”

I couldn’t have asked for a better gran and great Nan to my children

Clare said:

“Gran was amazing. I couldn’t have asked for a better gran and great Nan to my children. She looked after me, my sister and brother from a very young age when mum was at work. She did craft with us and days out with a picnic with hotdogs, she always kept us busy. It’s not the birthdays or Christmas that bothers me. It’s the little things. It will be something I’ve cooked and I’ll think ‘oh, that’s what I made with gran’.

“Treetops encouraged me to come to counselling and I found it really helpful. One time my Grandad came with me, and it helped me with my son who was 5 at the time. The staff were lovely and caring.”

Treetops Hospice Care is doing all it can to continue to support those in most need. However the charity predicts a huge £1.4m loss in income in the coming months, due to the temporary closure of all their charity shops, and postponement or cancellation of many fundraising events. An Emergency Appeal has been launched and the hospice is asking for donations to ensure they can continue to provide Hospice at Home nursing care throughout the pandemic.