Sonia Woolls took on the adventure of a lifetime by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in memory of her grandma Patricia Woolls. On Boxing Day, she left her home in Deal and flew to Tanzania to face one of the toughest challenges of her life – to conquer the tallest free-standing mountain in the world and watch the sunrise on New Year’s Day from its summit – and raise vital funds for the charity who supported her grandma during the end of her cancer battle.
Sonia (30), who is the manager at Dymchurch Amusement Park, said: “Grandma was 76 when she passed away at Pilgrims Hospice in Canterbury. I knew about hospice care, but never expected to feel so overwhelmed with the level of support and care offered to both Grandma and my family.
“As I turn 30 in February I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to test myself beyond my comfort zone and raise money for the hospice that took such wonderful care of my Grandma.”
Climbing Kilimanjaro turned out to be the toughest week of my life but also one of the best.
Although Sonia had no climbing experience, she had the support of her family and boyfriend Tom. With lots of extra walking, PT sessions and visits to the gym she felt ready for the challenge ahead.
“I had no idea of how much of a challenge it would be. Climbing Kilimanjaro turned out to be the toughest week of my life but also one of the best. I learned so much about myself that I would never have discovered if I hadn’t taken the leap and signed up with Pilgrims to undertake the Kili Challenge.
“After trekking for many hours a day, climbing to over 5,200m, experiencing the heat and extreme cold, enjoying breathtaking scenery and finding new friends, this was an opportunity I’m so pleased to have taken.”
Sonia raised an incredible £5,610.08 for Pilgrims Hospices by spreading the word with her family and friends; making posters to encourage people to sponsor her, holding quiz nights, coffee and cake mornings and guess the name of the teddy and sweets in a jar competitions.
“Although everyone thought I was a bit crazy, they are all really proud of my achievement. I’m sure Grandma would be very proud of me too.”
“The kindness offered by the entire Pilgrims Hospices team was amazing. Every person we encountered just could not do enough. I know Grandma was made as comfortable as possible and so well looked after. Everyone at the Pilgrims Hospice made one of the toughest times in our life just a little bit easier and we will be forever thankful. I was delighted to help raise some important funds to support their care.”
The kindness offered by the entire Pilgrims Hospices team was amazing.
If you would like to take on a challenge or fundraising activity to raise funds for Pilgrims Hospices, there a wide variety of local events and our overseas challenges listed on Events and Challenges. Our overseas events are organised by experienced and knowledgeable, tour operators. Not only that, but you’ll also receive all the tips and support you need to reach your fundraising goal. Find out about our latest trek to conquer Mt Toubkal, Morocco right now.
Each year Pilgrims supports hundreds of local people coping with a life-limiting illness and their families. The charity offers a range of services: from end of life care given on its wards to its Wellbeing and Social Programme supporting people after they are diagnosed, to live well and stay independent.
16th January 2019
Maya joins Team Pilgrims to run Edinburgh Marathon for Mum
Maya Guthrie (36) from Faversham will take on the Edinburgh Marathon on Sunday 26 May 2019 in memory of her mum, Dr Gillian Corble.
Maya is running to raise vital funds for Pilgrims Hospices, the charity that cared for Gillian at the end of her life.
Gillian worked as a GP in Faversham and an oncology clinician at Kent and Canterbury Hospital (KCH). She lived in India, Nepal and the Solomon Islands with Maya’s father, Frank, until they settled in Beltinge near Herne Bay. Following in her mum’s medical footsteps, Maya now works as an MRI Radiographer at KCH.
Although Gillian and Maya took part in several fundraising events for Pilgrims, including Divas on Wheels, the family had no personal experience with the charity until Gillian was referred to the Canterbury hospice in 2017.
The amazing care my mother received, that then positively impacted on us left behind, is something I wish everyone in that situation could experience if they so choose.
Maya said: “My mother’s transfer there was seamless; her care was second to none. Nothing was any trouble for the polite staff at the hospice. The surroundings were so comforting for us to spend time in, and I so admired the respect the staff gave to my parents while she was there. My son Oscar was just three months old at the time, and as awful as the circumstances were, it was so much easier to be able to be with my mum whilst breastfeeding and changing nappies in the comfortable environment of the hospice.
“Ironically, the term ‘lifesavers’ immediately comes to mind! If the hospice movement wasn’t so accessible in east Kent, my mother would’ve had a very different last few weeks on earth. The strain on my father would have been so great, and his experience of his last time with her wouldn’t have been so positive.”
Gillian with her cousin, Patty
Gillian with her grandson, Oscar
Maya and Gillian
Maya decided to run the Edinburgh Marathon for Pilgrims so that other families can continue to benefit from local hospice care. She said: “I really enjoy running but have never run more than 10km before, so this will be a real challenge. I’ve read it’s the flattest marathon around, which is fine with me!”
Maya has set up a JustGiving page and hopes that friends and colleagues will sponsor her in the run-up to the event. She said: “The amazing care my mother received, that then positively impacted on us left behind, is something I wish everyone in that situation could experience if they so choose.”
“I want to support Pilgrims so that these services are available for future service users. Through fundraising, I hope to play a little part in continuing the amazing work Pilgrims does for patients and their loved ones.”
Pilgrims Hospices’ Christmas Tree Recycling campaign has broken records this year with a staggering 1,250 trees being collected over Ashford and Tenterden last weekend.
For the seventh year running the generous residents of the Ashford Borough from Wye to Wittersham, Willesborough to Woodchurch, donated money in return for their Christmas trees to be collected and recycled by Pilgrims Hospices.
Their team of over 70 dedicated volunteers and colleagues from local businesses collected the trees on Saturday 12 January. The campaign will raise more than £20,000 for the charity who care for members of the local community facing incurable illnesses.
We are absolutely thrilled to have broken previous records again this year.
Kate Duddell – Pilgrims Hospices
The scheme received tremendous amounts of community support with several local businesses gifting their time and vans to help collect the trees. Local businesses lending a hand included vans and crews from Prospect Tree Mortgages, Givaudan Ltd, Medash Signs Ltd, Practical Van Hire Ashford, Waitrose, Countrystyle Recycling Ltd, Earles Landscapes and Laing O’Rourke.
A total of 22 vans were out in force around the area collecting the trees of all shapes and sizes, which were taken to Ashford Household Waste Recycling Centre in Cobbs Wood for recycling.
Kate Duddell, Pilgrims Hospices Fundraising Manager, said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to everybody who registered their tree for collection, each and every donation makes a difference to the £11 million we have to fundraise every year in order to keep our services running.
“We simply could not run the campaign without the many volunteers lending their time, vans, or facilities, including the staff at the Ashford Recycling Centre, Ashford Vineyard and Ashford Borough Council to help us with this campaign. We thank each and every one of those involved. Our headline sponsor, Prospect Tree Mortgages, has also gone above and beyond to help support the campaign, for which we are very grateful.
“We are all absolutely thrilled to have broken previous records again this year, but as the numbers continue to grow we will need even more crews to help. If you can help in 2020 or know someone who would like to get involved in the scheme, we would love to hear from you in the coming few weeks. Or, if you are a business and would like to sponsor the event, we’d also love to hear from you. Simply email email@example.com.”
Each year Pilgrims supports hundreds of local people coping with a life-limiting illness and their families. The charity offers a range of services: from end of life care given on its wards to its Wellbeing and Social Programme supporting people after they are diagnosed to live well and stay independent.