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Gary Freeman avatar
Gary Freeman

"I've had a wonderful life"

Fundraising for Hospice Of St Francis (Berkhamsted)

95 %
£9,566.35
raised of £10,000 target
by 257 supporters
Donate

Hospice Of St Francis (Berkhamsted)

We help over 2,000 local people each year to live their precious lives well

Charity Registration No. 280825

Story

UPDATE: Done it! Okay, so I wasn't fast - but I wasn't last!

Please take a look at the updated photos to appreciate what wonderful support we had on the day, and look through the sponsorship below to understand how I managed to keep going during my "training" - your support has meant the world to me.

If you're visting this page for the first time (and are willing and able) then please sponsor me too. Just because the race is over, it doesn't mean the hospice has stopped needing our support.

Thanks again

Gary 

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Claire's mantra was "Go For It" and whether "it" was studying, partying, helping others, or sleeping(!), she did just that - she went for it! 

So when, in April 2009, she was diagnosed with (what turned out to be) a VERY aggressive form of bowel cancer, she fought it all the way. But after two regimes of extensive chemotherapy and monoclonal antibodies, and just two days before she was to start a trial drug, Claire passed away at the age of 24.

What followed simply amazed Kate (Claire's mum), Rob (her brother), and me (her dad). At a celebration of Claire's life (a month after her funeral) the church was packed - standing room only - and, time again, people cited specific and detailed examples of where and how Claire had inspired them, and continues to inspire them.

So much so, that the Edinburgh "Nightline" team (see below) have created an annual "Claire Freeman Award" to recognise one of its members each year who has most exhibited Claire's characteristics in their approach to helping others.

For Claire was always trying to help others - not just on a daily, one-on-one, basis but with more formal and time consuming activities, such as:  

* At school she undertook voluntary work at a local animal rescue centre (St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital)

* During her gap year she: took on several jobs; saved her money; and paid for two trips a) 3 months in Chile to help teach English to school kids, and b) 3 months in India where she helped in an orphanage and with a vet

* During her time at Edinburgh University (where she graduated in Microbiology) she was a volunteer at "Nightline" - a Samaritans-like group where one night each week she provided telephone support for fellow students; and separately she was a volunteer visitor each week at a local hospice. 

* In her first year at Warwick University (where she was a Medical student) she was in training for her first 10Km run - to raise money for charity.

She never did take part in that run - the cancer was diagnosed. 

Shortly before she died (and while still believing that she'd beat it) Claire told Kate: "I've had a wonderful life". And she did have. Only 10 photos are allowed on this site, and on another day I might have picked a different set, and the day after that chosen yet another set, and the .... but no matter how good a life we have, cancer is still one of the biggest killers in the UK, and hospices desperately need our support. 

Claire never got to run her 10K but, the following year, over 20 Medical students did - each wearing a t-shirt with Claire's photo on it, and all raising money for the hospice where Claire spent the last few weeks of her life.

Over a beer after the run, one of the Medics asked whether I would run the 10K in 2011 and, like a flash, I said "of course".

Now, I'm 55 and have never run 10K in my life. So this is a real challenge. To support me, Rob and his girlfriend (Lydia) have also signed up!

And we'd like you to support us - let's try to raise £10K for this 10km! 

After all, it's all for the hospice that gave Claire so much love and care during her final weeks - and with 80% of their funding coming from donations you'd really be helping those who are truly vulnerable and in need. 

As Claire would say - "C'mon, let's go for it! - but don't forget the 'gift aid' :-) "

Photos

10
  • Warwick Medics 2nd year running: geddit?
  • Laurence (in black) made me do it!
  • A few more of Claire's medic friends +8

Supporters

257

Fundraising team