Lisa Ashton has chosen to do a 500km road cycling challenge on her mountain bike, throughout May to raise money for St Barnabas Hospice in memory of her dad, Brian Waterall. Brian was age 66 when he was diagnosed with kidney cancer and he sadly died in May 2016, just six months later.
Lisa and her sister have previously fundraised for charities by taking part in the Colour Dash and cycling events in London, Cambodia and Vietnam. To date, they have raised an incredible £6,000 for various charities to support other patients like Brian at the end of their life. Jenny, Brian’s widow, supports St Barnabas by donating many items to their charity shops, including many items she has knitted herself.
Lisa said, “Dad was such a lovely and cheeky man. He served in the RAF for 38 years and always loved to be on the go. Even after retirement, he took up golf and became a member of the Grantham Bowls Club.
“Dad was admitted to hospital in 2015 with abdominal pain, which we thought was gallstones. An MRI and CT scan uncovered an advanced kidney tumour and the kidney could not be removed. It was at this point that we were put in contact with St Barnabas Hospice to care for Dad and the whole family until the end. St Barnabas cared for dad at home for a few weeks, then an attempt was made to plug the blood supply to the kidney, but this resulted in a severe infection and he ended up in intensive care. I remember feeling devastated, my dad was always the strong active one, to see him fighting this awful condition was heart breaking.
“Thankfully this wasn’t his time and he was able to recover from the infection. St Barnabas then cared for dad in the Hospice in Grantham for the three weeks leading up to his death. Every staff member and volunteer we met were just excellent, caring and compassionate. They supported us all and made Dad as comfortable as possible. Dad loved the outdoors, so the nurses often pushed his bed out onto the patio so that he could still enjoy this in his last few weeks. They even helped him have a sip of his favourite beer – Guinness – which put a smile on all our faces!
“My most precious memory is the last day that dad was able to communicate with us. We all enjoyed an ice cream together in the sunny Hospice gardens and it just felt so normal and peaceful.
“My son and niece came to the Hospice to see their grandad aged 12 and 10. Often clinical environments can be quite daunting, but the Grantham staff provide such a relaxing atmosphere and they coped well with seeing him. The whole feel of the place is just very relaxed and homely.
“After Dad died, Mum had constant support from the Hospice, including check-ins, group counselling and their old friendship group. She was able to get support both from the Hospice staff and from other people who had gone through similar experiences to her. She still meets up with members of the friendship group four years later.
“It upset me to hear of the huge financial losses which St Barnabas are facing due to the impact of the coronavirus and I am determined to do my bit for them and for Dad. My 500km bike ride will be completed by doing around 10 miles per day throughout May. It will be the furthest I have ridden in a month, but I am more than up for the challenge for such a worthy cause.
“Dad will be up there watching me and spurring me on. I know this is what he would have wanted.”
Lisa’s cycling challenge begins on Friday 1st May and she is trying to raise a minimum of £310 for St Barnabas Hospice. To donate to her cause, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lisa-ashton12