A Bedford mother and her two daughters raised £500 for the hospice that cared for their dad and grandad as part of the Walk to Remember campaign.
Autumn sunshine accompanied Michelle Cain and her daughters Stacie and Jess as they walked along Bedford Embankment in support of Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice.
“My daughters are super fit – they could have run it to be honest,” said Michelle. “My knees were starting to hurt at the end, but walking together in the sunshine was really enjoyable.
“I wanted to do something because of what Sue Ryder did for us as a family.”
After Michelle’s dad, David Allen, was diagnosed with prostate cancer, her mum cared for him for four years. However, when his conditition went rapidly downhill, they needed support to be able to continue to look after him at home.
Michelle’s grandmother was cared for at St John’s Hospice, so after David was diagnosed she rang Sue Ryder to see how they could support the family.
“They told us when the time came and we needed them they would be there for us, and they were.”
David died in February 2021, and received care at home from Sue Ryder St John’s Palliative Care Hub.
“The team at the Sue Ryder St John’s Palliative Care Hub literally got everything in place. They got a hospital bed delivered in two to three days and we had carers in straight away and we had regular phone calls to see how we were doing too,” said Michelle.
“When things were at their worst Sue Ryder was there and they did everything they could.
“Sue Ryder care teams came every day, and sometimes at night too. Mum and I were staying in the front room with Dad and Sue Ryder arranged a night sit one night so we could have a night of sleep in bed. We had not heard of this service before, so we were gobsmacked.
“A full night’s sleep meant we could start again the next day and it made a massive difference to us.
“Every single member of staff who came in was amazing. It was like we had known them forever and they looked after Dad like they were looking after their own Dad. You don’t expect other people to care for your loved ones like you do. I don’t know how they do it.”
David, who was known as Dave, worked as an engineer at Allens Engineering in Bedford, then Rolls Royce before retiring. He was married to Michelle’s Mum, Brenda, for 56 years.
“He was just the most amazing husband, Dad and Papa and the life and soul at parties. He was always laughing and always knew the right thing to say,” said Michelle.
“So much has changed since we lost him and we feel as time goes on every day is getting harder without him.
“Mum is now being supported by their family support team. Even now Sue Ryder continues to help us and we are so grateful.”
As well as raising over £500 from their own ‘Walk to Remember’, Michelle’s family set up an online donation page in Dave’s memory, which has raised over £1,000 for Sue Ryder too.
“Dad only died in February, and we set up a donation page in March which was so well supported. I didn’t think people would donate to us again. I am so pleased with how much we have raised with our walk, and I want to thank everyone so much for supporting us.
“No one knows how much you need support like this until it happens, and Sue Ryder continues to be there for us when we need it.
“I would love someone else to have the care that my Dad did.”
To donate to Michelle, Stacie and Jess’s fundraising visit their Just Giving page.