On Saturday 23rd September, ten daredevils took to the skies for the second skydive of 2017 in aid of Havens Hospices.
One of the brave fundraisers that took on the 13,000 feet dive was Annette Cronin, who was fundraising for Havens Hospices in memory of her father Bill Collings. Bill attended Fair Havens Day Care and was also given end of life care at the hospice; Bill died on 21st April 2017 at Fair Havens Hospice.
“Dad was diagnosed with Lymphoma and Emphysema in November 2016, I was helping my mum to care for him, but it was becoming a bit of a struggle. Dad had become increasingly withdrawn, could be quite difficult to be around and mum was getting worn out. Dad was offered a space at Day Care and honestly it turned our world around – he absolutely loved it. He loved the food, the conversation with the other patients and the banter with the nurses
“Dad would come every Monday, it was his day and he got to decide what he wanted to do and who he wanted to talk to. It really did give him a new lease of life – he was no longer negative about everything, because he always had Monday to look forward to, it really did help him feel more positive and it allowed all of us to start ‘Making every day count’ as a family.
“I feel so lucky we could come to Fair Havens for Dad’s last evening. We had such an amazing amount of support from everyone at Fair Havens; that’s what is so special about the hospice - Everyone matters, they care not just for patients, but their families and friends too for as long as they need them.
“When Dad died, one of the nurses Carolyn and my Mum gave him a wash and when I came back in to the room; Carolyn had changed the sheets and blankets and brought in flowers from the garden – she made sure everything was blue because it was Dad’s favourite colour. You can’t buy this kind of care, it is priceless.”
Bill had been a Para when he was younger and when he had been in hospital, Annette had spotted an advert for a skydive –
“When I said to Dad I was thinking of doing it he quipped back ‘you’d never do that!’ But when I saw how happy Dad was at Day Care I decided that I’d definitely take on the challenge. So a couple of weeks before Dad died, I handed him the forms and asked him to give them in when he was next there; so he knew I was going to be taking part – he was so proud.
“Havens Hospices has to raise £100,000 a week in order to be there for families like mine and they don’t charge a penny for any of the care they provide; so when Dad died I was even more determined to fundraise for them – I originally gave myself a £750 target, but having arranged a couple of successful fundraising events, I got greedy and increased my target to £2,000, but to date I’ve raised just over £5000. A huge thank you to everyone who has supported me so far; this isn’t the end of my fundraising – although I will never jump out of a plane again!”
Challenges Fundraiser Emma Hamilton said,
“Havens Hospices can only exist because of the kindness and generosity of our supporters like Annette who take on challenges to fundraise for us. This was our second skydive challenge of the year and I’m very pleased to say that our thirty five skydivers have raised £29,000; so on behalf of everyone at Havens Hospices I want to thank every single skydiver, you are all helping adults, young adults or children across Essex living with a serious illness be as pain free and comfortable as possible – for as long as we’re needed.”
To find out more about how you or someone you know would benefit from the care at Fair Havens Havens, click here