Wednesday 12th November 2008, ..... it was an emotional return to St Teresa's Hospice. It's an inspiring place filled with amazing people, .. a place where my Father found peace and support after being diagnosed with cancer of the prostate and a place where my Mother spent much of her free time as a volunteer supporting their services.
Back in April when the Hospice staff had helped me to push my stricken Tiger out of the car park, the 'New Wing' had still been under construction, it had been little more than a building site, ...... but today I saw it complete. It provides St Teresa's with the necessary space to extend it's in-patient and bereavement counseling services, .... space that provides for the support of an increasing number of families, ..... space that they urgently needed, .... space that requires additional funding, .... funding that can only be raised through charitable events and the generous actions of individuals.
I was greeted by David Jones the Director of Fund Raising and given a guided tour of the new annex. I was able to spend time talking with Staff, with Nurses, with Volunteers, with the Chairman Alasdair MacConachie OBE and of course with the most important people, ... the people who's lives are enriched both in the Hospice and outside in the community. It seemed that everybody knew my Mother and many remembered my Father, .... but that's just the kind of people that they were, ... 'memorable' for all of the best reasons. St Teresa's Hospice, and for that matter any other Hospice, is not a place of sadness, .. a visit is always uplifting. I'd been quite sheepish on arrival, I'd aimed to raise five thousand pounds, ... the exact amount that they need in order to provide their services for 1 single day out of every 365, .... I felt guilty that I'd fallen short. I should not have worried, .... I should not have lost so much sleep the previous night. Everybody was grateful, ... thankful for what I'd done, .. the amount that I'd raised (or not raised) was secondary, .... they made me feel special for having done something, done anything, .... to help them. Staff, Volunteers and Patients alike have asked me to pass on their sincere thanks to the people who have generously donated through my Just Giving Page, ...... many of whom are total strangers, many of whom have no connection with Darlington, ..... but all of who are now directly affecting the lives of many families in the most positive ways imaginable. 'Thank You'.
As I left St Teresa's I met friends of my Mother that I knew well, I met supporters of Poor Circulation that I'd previously only known as 'Names' that were written on the bike. I left there with some extra money raised and with the absolute determination to achieve my initial target of five thousand pounds, .... whatever it takes I'll get there.