carolspage

September 7, 2011

Why I’m doing this

Filed under: Cycletta — by carolspage @ 05:28
Tags: , , ,

Some of you may have noticed the Justgiving button on my blog. That is because I am using my participation in Cycletta to raise money for the charity I work for – St Luke’s (Cheshire) Hospice. When I first came to work at St Luke’s, it was quite a shock. I’m from the US originally and where I’m from if you’re taken into A & E conscious and not in imminent danger of bleeding to death the first question asked is not “What’s your name?” or “What happened?” but “Do you have medical insurance?” Yet here was an organisation that cared for people at the most stressful times of their lives and their only question seemed to be “How can we help?”

Many people think of a hospice only as someplace to spend their final days. St Luke’s does certainly provide that care, but it provides so much more!

I’d like to tell you about Debbie Estcourt, if I may.

Debbie was a remarkable woman. She grabbed life with both hands and shook it till every last bit of it was hers. Music was important to her and she was an accomplished pianist and cellist. She received a Masters Degree in Scenography (theatre production design), studying in Utrecht and Prague. This led to a job that took her all over Europe, installing and painting scenery in theme parks in Norway, Finland and Germany. She seems to have done everything from helping out at several of Elton John’s charity garden parties, to assisting with costume changes in the West End production of ‘The Snowman’, to helping a friend (who is a veterinary nurse) care for puppies featured in one of the ‘101 Dalmations’ films. She travelled through Thailand on her own, studying meditation and helping at an elephant sanctuary. She earned diving qualifications in Egypt and Thailand. Returning home to England a few days before the tsunami that devastated Thailand, it is no surprise that she immediately began helping with relief efforts here. Debbie moved to Portsmouth and it was there that the bright pink mountain bike she’d purchased while living in London really came into its own as she rode it to work almost daily.

In January 2007 Debbie was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. She left Portsmouth at that time and moved back to the family home in Cheshire, where she would have more support. But it was a lonely time. Though now living back where she grew up, many of her friends had moved away. Those still in the area had jobs to maintain and families to care for. Debbie began to attend the Complementary Therapy Clinic at St Luke’s. At St Luke’s she found a most welcome change of scene. There were people to talk to, tea to be shared (the volunteers always made sure that Debbie’s favourite tea was available for her) and the therapies to be enjoyed. Both of Debbie’s parents received support from St Luke’s – because St Luke’s understands that one person’s illness affects the families and carers as well.

Debbie made a good friend during her time at St Luke’s – someone she recognised as a fellow patient at the hospital in Manchester. Their families would joke about their friendship – for Debbie was a committed vegan and Mike was a butcher!

Debbie died in August of 2008. Recently her parents donated that pink mountain bike to a St Luke’s shop. Debbie’s mum says “Debbie was a great recycler and supported many and varied charity shops (often purchasing as well as donating). Therefore we feel we are continuing her ethos by offering her bike to St Luke’s and we are thrilled that in turn this may be part of a further fundraising event for the hospice.”

It is on Debbie’s pink bike that I began my Cycletta training.

It is the care and support that Debbie and her family received, and which all of the patients and families that come through the doors receive, that I want to keep going.

This is why there is a Justgiving button on the right sidebar of this blog.

This is why I am asking you to support my efforts with whatever you are able to donate.

I want St Luke’s to be here whenever we are needed.

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