family take on trekfest in memory of inspirational sandie

06 October 2017

On Saturday 2nd September, nine family members set off on a 25K Trek through the Peak District to raise money for Havens Hospices in memory of their relative Sandie Neave.

Team Cornelius-Neave took on the challenging route in tribute to Sandie, who battled cancer for three years and to raise money for the charity that cared and supported Sandie through the end of her journey, at Fair Havens Hospice. Sandie died on 28th December 2016 at home.

Sandie’s niece Rachel Cornelius, age 24, from Leigh-on-Sea explained,

“In late 2013, Sandie was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer which later developed to Lymph Node Cancer. Sandie was told about Fair Havens Hospice in hospital and decided to come along to Day Care to find out more about it. She loved it, so started coming to Fair Havens on a regular basis.

“Day Care really helped Sandie because she was able to socialise and take part in the creative therapies. She really enjoyed talking to the hospice staff because they gave her a better understanding of what was happening medically. I think that really helped her with her own grieving process and actually helped us all, because they took away the fear of the unknown, we were all able to just enjoy the last weeks with Sandie and grieve with her rather than stress out about what was going to happen.

“Sandie was one of the most positive people I know, but Havens Hospices helped us all be more positive and gave Sandie that boost of determination to get to Christmas; giving all of us that moment to cherish forever. Sandie’s health had deteriorated in the December and she was being cared for by the Fair Havens Hospice at Home service and while it was end of life care, it was more peaceful and more comfortable for Sandie – it really was the best care that she or any of us could have asked for.”

Sandie had made it very clear to Rachel and her other family members that she wanted them to fundraise for Havens Hospices so that the charity could continue providing specialist care and support to other adults, young adults and children with life-limiting illnesses symptom and pain management, offering respite, providing end of life care and post-bereavement care to their families.  The family wanted to do something together and decided that Trekfest was the best for everyone in the group.

The family and Sandie’s close friend set off on the trek together, but two of the team – Carol Bloggs and Kevin Cornelius started to struggle early on.

Rachel explained,

“Sandie’s close friend Carol started to struggle after the first 6km and my Dad, Kevin, Sandie’s brother, has arthritis in his heels and we could see he was suffering at the 2nd checkpoint which was 18km. We carried on and supported each other, there was also a lot of support along the route and both Carol and Dad pushed through for Sandie. It’s the biggest thing we’ve done as a family since Sandie died and I think that it allowed us to reflect on the loss and remember Sandie as we walked; she was definitely there with all of us, motivating us to keep going and I know she would have been so proud of all of us for completing it. 

“It was one of the best things I’ve done, the trek itself was physically and mentally tough, but we all worked together to keep going and the sense of achievement I had at the end of it made it so worthwhile.  We had given ourselves a target of £2,500, but we’ve managed to raise nearly £3,000, which I am over the moon about. We all know the difference Havens Hospices made to Sandie and everyone in the family so if we can help them do this for another family then that’s fantastic and it is a brilliant motivator to raise money for them. They are a wonderful charity and will always be in our hearts and we’re very happy that we can help.”

Emma Hamilton, Challenge Fundraiser at Havens Hospices said,

“Team Cornelius-Neave did amazingly well, the trek is incredibly challenging, but none of them gave up. I’d like to say a massive thank you to all of them for taking on this challenge and raising an amazing amount of money so that we can continue ‘Making every day count’ for everyone who needs us.”

To sponsor the family, people can still donate here.

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