AN Axbridge woman who is taking part in this year's Mendip Challenge for Weston Hospicecare said the charity was a ‘lifesaver’ and her parents became ‘husband and wife again’ before her dad died.

Louise Walsh said her dad, Peter Joiner, was so grateful for the care given to him by the charity before he died in January after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

She will take on the 10 mile Mendip Challenge with her friends Keith, Bernie and Nick as team PJ in memory of her dad.

The challenge is Weston Hospicecare’s flagship fundraising event offering participants a chance to walk 10, 20 or 30 miles across the Mendip Hills in support of the charity and will take place on Sunday 2 June.

Louise said: “If I can just help in a small way to give something back to the hospice it will be worth every sore muscle and blister!

“I really cannot explain just how amazing the hospice and all the staff there are. My dad was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in late 2017 and it was only a short time before the wonderful hospice team stepped in to offer support to our family.

“My mum was also offered support through the Wellbeing Centre at the hospice with regular treatments. As dad’s main carer, it was just a little bit of time for her to relax and escape the physical and emotional stresses of caring for dad.

“Later on, dad was admitted as an inpatient to the hospice for ten days and the whole time he was there he kept saying how lovely all the staff were and how grateful he was for their care.

“It may sound strange, but I felt the hospice was a lifesaver. Caring for dad at home had become physically impossible for my mum, and the stress of that on both her and dad was incredible."

Louise said she is 'extremely grateful' to the hospice which must raise all but 20 per cent of its £4.2million annual running costs through sales in shops, donations and fundraising events like the Mendip Challenge.

Louise added:“Being admitted to the hospice to spend his final days allowed dad to stop worrying about mum trying to care for him, and for mum to stop stressing about keeping him safe and pain-free.

“It meant they were able to become husband and wife again instead of patient and carer.

“For my brothers and I this was just the best thing to witness and it made Dad’s final two weeks as comfortable and relaxed as they could possibly be.

“I will never be able to thank the staff enough for what they did for dad and for mum. I know he received excellent 24-hour care when he was there. Every single staff member and volunteer we met during dad’s stay were lovely and our visits were always pleasant.

“My dad was very clear on how he felt about the hospice so in honour of him I shall be proud to be taking part in the Mendip Challenge.”

In 2018 the Mendip Challenge raised more than £66,000 for the hospice and already this year more than 550 people have signed up. Entry costs £15 per adult and £10 per child and participants are encouraged to raise sponsorship on top.

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