I am not climbing Kilimanjaro for the purpose of raising money; I am climbing Kilimanjaro because I needed a challenge - story for another day. I planned to do the trip in January 2014, but it appeared Dad would need attention at this time, so I postponed. Dad died in March 2014 and, after a few months, I realized that I still had to do Kilimanjaro, and there was no reason not to schedule for January 2015.
Dad died of lung cancer (Mum died of pancreatic cancer, 2002), and so cancer is in the family but I have no desire to raise money for a cure (which I probably should!). Death is inevitable, and in the case of my mother and father, it turns out that, death by cancer was quite quick and painless. Would death by old age have been preferable? I don't know or would prefer not to say here.
What I have learnt from these experiences is that care at the end is not easy. It's not easy for children to find out what to do, to be there to do it, or to get the parents to allow them to do it.
There was a system around Dad, the National Health Service, the Macmillan cancer support nurses, and St Barnabas who provide palliative care. I didn't know what palliative care was, or how they fitted into the system.
Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness—whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.
Dad had a fall, as a result of a dizzy spell, that was a result of a collapsed lung, which was discovered to be perforated, and collapsed because of a large tumor that had grown in its place, June 2013.
This diagnosis triggered the system to alert St Barnabas and Macmillan. It was another year before I understood where the boundaries were, and who was doing what. The day before Dad died, there were about 20 staff that passed through the house, and the house looked like a space control center. All the staff was NHS and St Barnabas. Macmillan presided over the evaluation and management of the tumor. NHS and St Barnabas, the equipment, drugs and care.
Dad had two wishes: 1) to die a quick death that would not affect his mind, and 2) that he could die at home. The NHS and St Barnabas enabled the latter.
The NHS is already funded. St Barnabas rely on charity.
St Barnabas only care for people in one small village on the south coast of England, and so I realize it may be difficult for you to sponsor something so distant with such a small impact. It's a particularly difficult donation for my American friends, but I understand and respect that. All donations go to St Barnabas.
24 December 2014
Btw, Mount Kilimanjaro is tall at 19000 ft. so there is a risk I won't summit due to altitude sickness. I will have a GPS tracker sending signals to a web page so you will be able to monitor my progress, and perhaps my failure to summit. So some entertainment whether you donate or not.
Follow my progress from 27Jan2015 to 5Feb2015 at: