The top fundraiser at last year’s Night to Remember midnight walk is excited to be taking part again this year to raise money for St Barnabas House.
Beka Madell, 26, who lives in Worthing, raised a staggering total of £1,220 through sponsorship for the 2016 walk, more than any other individual.
She followed the footsteps of her mum, Dawn Madell, who took part in the midnight walk twice herself before she was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.
Dawn spent the last month of her life in the St Barnabas House In-patient Unit before sadly passing away in December 2015.
Beka said: “Mum was diagnosed in February 2015. As she was a non-smoker it took a while for the doctors to diagnose it. She was a fit and healthy woman who went to the gym four days a week, so it was such a shock.
“She even walked the 13 mile Night to Remember a couple of years running in 2013 and 2014. Mum passed away in December 2015 and if it wasn’t for chemotherapy I am certain we wouldn’t have had the ten months we had with her.”
Before she was admitted to the St Barnabas House In-patient Unit, Dawn received visits from the Hospice at Home Team. During 2016, 409 patients were referred to the Hospice at Home Team for end of life or palliative care at home.
Beka said: “We had a couple of St Barnabas nurses come out to us to check over Mum’s medication and oxygen supplies. They even arranged for a mobile oxygen tank so we could take Mum out. Mum was a very active woman and this made a huge difference to her confidence and wellbeing.
“We also used the Chapel. Unfortunately my mum’s dad, Spencer Rayment, also passed away from lung cancer just three months before mum.
“St Barnabas arranged for us to do a little service for him in the gardens where we let balloons off and we were able to take Mum down to the chapel afterwards where we lit candles in memory of his life.
“This meant so much to Mum as she didn’t really get to say goodbye properly as she was in and out of hospital herself.”
Beka said that the care her mum received and the dignity she was treated with at St Barnabas House during a very difficult time made a huge difference to both of their lives.
She said: “The care of St Barnabas was vital to Mum’s wellbeing as she was able to keep her dignity. Mum’s words were, ‘I feel so safe here’.
“The nurses were incredible; so caring and treated her like a person. I was able to help the nurses bath Mum every day which made such a huge difference for us both as we were able to keep some normality.
“I will never forget the mum and daughter time we were able to spend together whilst I was able to wash her hair for her.”
This year is the ten year celebration of Night to Remember and is set to be an extra special occasion with all three routes taking the ladies to the end of the Worthing pier for the first time.
Taking place on Saturday 24 June, the tenth popular moonlit fundraising event will see over 1,000 ladies setting off at midnight on a walk along Worthing seafront to raise vital funds for their local hospice.
As in previous years, there will be a choice of 7, 13.1 and 20 mile routes and a stall where ladies can buy all their glow accessories to “light up the night”.
Beka, who did the seven mile walk last year, admitted that it was extra special taking part knowing that her mum had done so previously.
“I decided to take part in Night to Remember because I wanted to give back to the charity for all of the support and kindness they gave us,” she said. “The best part of it was knowing my mum did the walk. It was like following in her footsteps.”
“There were six of us in our team last year, my Aunt Debbie (Mum’s sister), Karen, Sue, Janine and Yasmin (Mum’s friends). Last year was the first time I took part in Night to Remember, but when Mum did it previously she loved it!”
Over the past nine years over 9,000 ladies have taken to the streets of Worthing and have collectively raised over £1.3 million for St Barnabas House.
Lucy Bone, Events Fundraiser for St Barnabas House, said: “We rely hugely on fundraising events such as Night to Remember, and the sponsorship raised enables us to provide vital end of life care to local people and to support their families.
“We are extremely grateful to everyone who takes part and those who sponsor them, people like Beka who have such a close connection to the hospice.
“The income raised from Night to Remember over the last nine years has enabled our Hospice at Home service to reach 1,800 patients and provide 24 hour care for those in need.”
If you would like to support Beka’s fundraising for this year’s Night to Remember you can make a donation on her JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/WalkForDawn.
Registration for this year’s Night to Remember is open until Monday 12 June. You can register to take part at www.nighttoremember.org.uk/stb or by calling the St Barnabas House Events Team on 01903 706354.