Chris Laming (56) from Westbrook near Margate will take on her fourth Firewalk for Pilgrims Hospices on Friday 1 March 2019 in Canterbury. After completing her first Firewalk in 2016, she was hooked; each walk leaves her feeling inspired and proud to support her local hospice charity.
Chris, who works as an administrator at the University of Kent in Canterbury and recently qualified as a counsellor, supports Pilgrims for a very personal reason:
“A close family friend was cared for by Pilgrims three years ago, and I was incredibly moved to hear his family speak so highly of the dignified and compassionate care both he and they received in his final days, and the comfort that brought them in the depth of their loss.
“He passed away just a short time after we lost my own beloved dad, and I can’t help but reflect with great sadness that our experience as a family was very different. My dad passed suddenly and unexpectedly after a short illness, and though he received very good medical care in hospital from incredibly caring staff, the privacy we needed as a family at such a deeply personal time was almost impossible in a busy hospital environment.”
From that very first walk I’ve been like ‘a moth to the flame’ so to speak, taking part every year and feeling just as inspired and proud of what I’m achieving, both personally and for Pilgrims, with every single walk.
Chris heard about the charity’s Firewalk event just a few months after her dad passed away. Although it was a difficult time, she felt inspired to challenge herself – and she hasn’t looked back since. She said:
“I can’t lie, I’m now totally hooked! From that very first walk I’ve been like ‘a moth to the flame’ so to speak, taking part every year and feeling just as inspired and proud of what I’m achieving, both personally and for Pilgrims, with every single walk. The camaraderie and mutual support from other participants on the night is absolutely incredible; it’s an awesome experience and a totally unique challenge.”
Chris will be joined at her next Firewalk by several colleagues including her boss and good friend, Jayne Lawson, who is taking part for the third time; the university service they work for even has the very apt acronym HEAT. Chris added:
“I’m also fortunate to have an amazingly supportive family and close friends who always get behind me, and though I haven’t convinced many of them to join me yet, they are always encouraging and incredibly generous with their sponsorship.”
Driven by a belief that better end-of-life care is possible for everyone, and that dying should be talked about more openly, Chris hopes that her fundraising will help other families to feel informed and empowered in the time they have left together. She said:
“That’s why the holistic support that Pilgrims offers to the whole family is vitally important. If a mad dash across hot coals helps to raise awareness for it, then a few toasted toes is really a small price to pay.”
You can sponsor Chris by visiting her JustGiving page.
Feeling inspired to follow in Chris’ footsteps and face the flames?
Firewalk returns on 1 March 2019 in Canterbury and 2 March 2019 in Ashford.
Visit pilgrimshospices.org/firewalk to sign up now to dash across red hot embers and achieve the impossible. Early Bird entry is £17, available to the first 50 registrations per event or until 20 January 2019, whichever is sooner. Standard entry is £20, available until 24 February 2019 or sooner if capacity is reached. Entry includes training seminar, firewalking experience and certificate.