Lisa Rose (39) from Hawkinge near Folkestone will take on a 6-mile sponsored walk with her son, Oliver (8), as part of A Night to Shine on Saturday 22 September in Canterbury. They will walk in memory of Lisa’s mum, Rosemary Gatehouse, who was cared for at Pilgrims Hospice Canterbury in July 2018. Here, Lisa shares why it’s important for the family to give back to Pilgrims and raise vital funds and awareness for local hospice care.
Mum lived with my dad, James, her husband of 42 years, in Whitfield near Dover. Dad built the house for her in 1976 and this is where they raised my brother, Mark, and I.
Later in life, Mum was diagnosed with bowel cancer. In June 2018 she spent two weeks in hospital; despite the medical teams’ best efforts, we were told that treatment for Mum’s cancer was no longer an option. She was referred to Pilgrims so she could receive the care she needed in her last months. As a family we were devastated by the news, but we focused on making sure that Mum was as comfortable as possible.
Just walking on to the hospice ward we felt that this was where Mum needed to be. The care she received from Pilgrims was of the highest quality; she was made comfortable, and as her family we were supported every step of the way by the hospice staff. Nothing was too much trouble for them. During the most devastating time of my life, the staff at the Canterbury hospice made it just that little bit easier to bear; I really don’t know what our family would have done without them or the hospice facilities available.
Pilgrims gave our family time to say and do all the things we needed to. That’s something money can’t buy, and we will be forever thankful to the staff at Pilgrims for the quality time they gave us as a family with our mum, wife and nanna.
After Mum died, I felt that saying thank you wasn’t enough; I wanted to give back to Pilgrims as they are a charity so reliant on financial support to be able to do their vital work. Oliver and I will walk 6 miles in the A Night to Shine event on 22 September in Canterbury. We’ve encouraged some close friends to walk with us too; we’ll be the Walking BUDdys team (my mum was affectionately known as Bud by family and close friends). So many people and families need Pilgrims’ support, so if I can raise just a small amount of money to help with that I will be happy, and I know my mum would be proud!
My mum meant the world to me; she was a very proud lady and I loved the absolute bones of her. During the last weeks of her life I’d watched her fade into a shadow of who she was, which made her feel sad and helpless. I felt that way, too. At the hospice Mum was given control back and that meant so much to us all; she had dignity again. Pilgrims gave our family time to say and do all the things we needed to. Mum had the opportunity to see Oliver, her grandson, one last time while she was still aware of what was going on and say all the things she wanted to say to him. He, in turn, was given a lasting memory of his nanny looking reasonably well and a message so full of love that he could never forget he really was ‘the light of her life’. That’s something money can’t buy, and we will be forever thankful to the staff at Pilgrims for the quality time they gave us as a family with our mum, wife and nanna.
You can sponsor Lisa and Oliver by visiting their JustGiving page.
If you’re feeling inspired and would like to follow in their footsteps, sign up now for A Night to Shine in Ashford, Broadstairs or Canterbury. Choose a 3 or 6-mile sponsored walk; entry is £15 for adults and £12 for under 18s, under 3s go free. Entry includes a t-shirt, torch, medal and memory lantern for you to personalise with your own message or design.