Heroic Bedfordshire nurses swopped thermometers for hiking boots last month when they embarked on an icy Icelandic adventure raising funds for the Sue Ryder’s St. John’s Hospice in nearby Moggerhanger.
Dawn Hawes, Sue Ryder St. John’s Lead Nurse, and Jacqui Ackroyd, Inpatient Ward Manager, teamed up with five other intrepid fundraising heroes for their epic £35k quest.
Seeing the struggles of patients in her care prompted Dawn’s adventure.
She said: “The trek was a fantastic experience that will stay with me. I am inspired by my patients all the time.
“I see people go through the most difficult times of their lives, and I am in awe of how they keep pushing through their challenges – they never give up. This trek was to give something back and pay homage to them.”
The other five intrepid explorers included hospice volunteers and friends and family of patients.
Dawn’s friend Charlotte Hurst and fellow Sue Ryder Nurse Viccy Cullip were due to join the trek. Sadly they were unable to take part.
Ellie Burke, Community Fundraiser at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice, congratulated the “terrific trekkers for braving the snow, wind and rain” to complete their “incredible Iceland challenge.”
She said the £35K would make sure the compassionate care continues and “would make room for the things that matter to patients” and fill “their final days with love.”
During the trek, Dawn and Jacqui hiked through mountainous landscapes and snow covered terrain.
Despite describing Iceland as “one of the most beautiful places” she has ever been too, Dawn said: “The trek was a challenge for everybody and it tested us all in different ways. Everyone was very supportive of each other.
”I am proud to have completed it – it made me realise I can do a lot more than I think I can.
“It was very cold, wet and windy – I wore three layers of thermal gear! The second day was the toughest. We started our trek up in the mountains by a geothermal station and hiked past a volcano.
“I knew there would be hills, but I hadn’t expected hills like this!”
Dawn thanked everyone who supported them including her “friend who made beautiful crafts to sell” and “the fantastic teams” at her two local pubs, The Three Horseshoes in Graveley and The Bell in Great Paxton.
Money was also raised before the trek through cake and craft sales, table-top sales and a virtual race night.
Dawn also praised her colleagues at the hospice saying, “They really strive to go above and beyond for patients and their loved ones, even in the toughest of times.”
Dawn, who has worked at the hospice for three-and-a-half-years was inspired, by a personal connection, to work there.
She had already planned to be a nurse but witnessing the “care and respect” a dying friend received at the hospice sealed the deal.
After working as a District Nurse for several years she always said she would come and work at the Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice.
The hospice provides expert palliative care, advice and support for people who are living with life-limiting conditions, as well as supporting their families.
They provide round-the-clock specialist care for inpatients and community services for those who prefer to receive palliative care at home.
They are now searching for other super supporters to take on further fundraising challenges including a Transylvania Winter Wilderness Trek in early 2023.
To make a donation visit the Sue Ryder website here. .