When digital marketing expert Carly Baraclough strides out on a Marie Curie Cancer Care’s sponsored walk next month, there will be one man on her mind – her father.
Carly (33) from Noseley, is taking part in the event on September 13 because her father William, or Billy as he was better known, was cared for by Marie Curie nurses.
Married Carly, who has taken part in Walk Ten since 2011 as an annual tradition, explained: “My dad became ill in 2007 and it got progressively worse.
“He was with his wife, Debbie, in America, but when he realised his condition was terminal, all he wanted was to come home to Belfast, where he was born and brought up.”
“Dad and Debbie moved back in 2008 but he was adamant that he was going to stay at home rather than move into a hospice.
“It was his way of coping.”
By October, though, Billy agreed to go into the Belfast Hospice. “It was a relief. It was so reassuring to know that he was being well cared for by the nurses,” Carly said.
Carly kept in touch with her dad by telephone.
But then, on October 28, Carly and her family received a call from her uncle, who told them that Billy was reaching the end of his life.
“The next flight wasn’t until the following morning, and Dad passed away two hours before we arrived. The hospice gave us privacy and time with him so we could all say goodbye. That’s what really stands out – they look after the family as much as the patient.”
In 2012 Carly completed two Walk Ten events in two days. She walked at Stormont House in Belfast before flying back to Northampton for the event at Boughton House.
Using social media to promote her JustGiving page, Carly raised an impressive £956, which paid for 47 hours of nursing care.
She said: “Taking part in Walk Ten with friends is my way of giving something back.
“The speech by a Marie Curie nurse at the end of the walk puts the charity’s work into perspective.
“The nurses feel strongly about what they do and because they cared for my dad, it hits home.”
Next month Carly will take part in the Great North Swim as well as Walk Ten Boughton again and added: “If I were going through this with another relative, I would hope for the same care. It feels great to raise money and help.”
Walk Ten is a sponsored twilight 10km walk beginning at 5pm, followed by an after-dark picnic, as walkers listen to live music while enjoying other live entertainment.
The evening ends with a fireworks display, as people mark 10pm, the time when the majority of Marie Curie nurses begin their evening shifts, entering homes of terminally ill patients to provide care for them and their families throughout the night.
Walk Ten is for all abilities and ages. Registration costs £10, with on the night entry costing £20.
Under-16s can walk for free and everyone who takes part receives a Walk Ten T-shirt to wear on the night.
It is also a dog-friendly event, so four-legged friends are more than welcome.
Registration is now open and people can sign up at www.mariecurie.org.uk/boughton or by calling 0845 052 4184.