Staff and supporters of Havens Hospices took part in the lockdown-friendly campaign on Sunday 26th April, which aims to help replace some of the fundraising which has been lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This year Havens Hospices had 90 people in ‘Team Havens’ signed up to take part in the Virgin Money London Marathon on 26th April and this event alone would have raised around £200,000 for the charity. In addition to this, all the charity’s usual fundraising events have either been postponed or cancelled until further notice. The charity’s income is decreasing just as the demand for its care is growing.
The 2.6 Challenge campaign is the creation of Virgin Money London Marathon organisers in response to the London Marathon postponement which asks people to come up with an activity based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 and donate or fundraise for their chosen charity.
Jane Hopkins, Voluntary Income Area Team Leader at Havens Hospices decided to take on her own challenge for the charity which is very close to her heart. Jane’s mother Carol was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour in 2007 and used Fair Havens Day Hospice regularly before spending her last two and a half weeks of her life in the hospice, where she died in September 2008.
In 2009, Jane started to fundraise for Havens Hospices when she and her husband Mike completed the Everest Base Camp Trek. In 2011, Jane signed up to volunteer for the charity and eventually became an employee. She has also run the London Marathon for the charity in 2018 and 2019.
On 26th April, Jane and her husband Mike decided to take on somewhat of a more light-hearted challenge and ‘wheelbarrowed’ 26 times across her garden raising over £266 in sponsorship.
From Jane’s personal experiences and working at the charity for eight years, she knows how much the care means to its patients and families. She said, “All of Havens Hospices care is free of charge and the care and compassion provided by all our staff is absolutely incredible – nothing is too much trouble for our nurses. On the day my mum passed away we were called in at 3.30am. I remember one of the nurses making us tea and toast in the kitchen as soon as we got there – even the little things really meant so much. My Dad – as Mum’s main carer – really benefited from the hospice’s complementary therapy too.”
In addition to Jane’s challenge, many other supporters have also signed up to take on a challenge. One of those was Yvonne Francis, from Leigh, who ran a marathon in her garden on Sunday after not being able to run the London Marathon for Havens Hospices. Yvonne completed an incredible 559 laps in 6 hours, 07 minutes and 30 seconds.Running the London Marathon has always been a dream of Yvonne’s since she was child so when it was announced it has been postponed, she was very disappointed and knew that this would have a major impact on the charity’s income. She said, “I really wanted to hit the fundraising target of £3,000 that I had set myself for the charity and to also somehow mark the date that the marathon should have taken place.
“My training had stopped around six weeks earlier whilst we adjusted to working from home, home schooling and this new ‘normal’ and I was mainly doing shorter runs just to keep up some kind of base fitness. As marathon day grew closer, I wasn’t really sufficiently prepared to be contemplating running 26.2 miles but I just knew that if 26th April passed without me doing anything I would have really regretted not giving it a go. I’d also read in the news about other people around the country running garden marathons – even balcony marathons – so thought I might as well give it a try!
“I’ve been really overwhelmed by the generosity and support shown – the total has increased over my target of £3,000. I’m now going to revise my target and hope to raise even more before the actual London Marathon takes place. I’ve always been struck by how local people, without fail, speak of Havens Hospices in such a positive way. It is testament to their amazing work – a charity which deals with the very saddest of times is thought of so fondly. I would urge anyone to get involved in fundraising for this charity – the support from them is second to none.”
Local running club Leigh-on-Sea Striders also asked their runners to take part in a challenge as an alternative to running the London Marathon on Sunday. One member, Darren Summers, took part in his own ‘garden marathon’ at home and he completed it in six hours 20 minutes and 31 seconds and the club have raised over £2,600 so far for Havens Hospices.
Jane adds, “We have been blown away by all the support over the weekend– some of the challenges we have seen have been fantastic! The challenges include someone cycling around the Barling Loop 26 times, one of our Trustees water rowing 26K, people running 26 laps round the block, two kids running 26.2 miles across April, as well as completing 26 mins of Karate Kata and 10 friends running 2.6 miles each in a virtual marathon relay.
“Havens Hospices relies on donations from the community to fund its essential care so by taking part in these challenges the money you raise will be make a real difference to local hospice care right now and helping us ‘Make every day count’ for our patients and families.”
To help support Havens Hospices during this time by making a donation, please visit www.havenshospices.org.uk/donate