16 Jul 2021 Community
Lesley Hemingway walks 300,000 steps in June for The Kirkwood
Lesley Hemingway completes a 300,000 steps challenge throughout June to pay tribute to her husband, Paul Hemingway, 15 years since he sadly died on our In-Patient Unit. Lesley embarked on the challenge to raise vital funds for the care Paul received throughout his illness.
Paul Hemingway was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer in 2005 and after many months of chemotherapy treatment, Paul and his wife Lesley sought support from The Kirkwood to help manage his pain.
Lesley explains: “When Paul was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer, he was given chemotherapy as a treatment. After he’d done one round, we got the scan results to say the tumours that were also in his stomach were reducing.
“We were able to take our daughters, Charlotte and Edele, who were four and eight at the time, to Disneyland Paris after this, with money raised by my colleagues at Tesco and members of the Huddersfield Scooter Club, and when we were back he had another scan which showed the chemotherapy wasn’t working as well as it had been. The first time Paul was admitted onto the In-Patient Unit was around the end of April 2006, there weren’t any cancer beds available at the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary so it was suggested he went to the hospice.
Paul, Charlotte and Edele
“Paul didn’t like the idea, he like a lot of people thought of the hospice as a place to die. He thought no one would visit him, but we convinced him it’d be alright and once he was there he realised how nice it was.
“He was there for just over a week, and during this time we had a meeting with his consultant to say there was nothing more they could do. They were going to stop treatment, they didn’t want him to spend his last months feeling sick from chemotherapy.
“Paul was admitted onto the In-Patient Unit again around the end of May, he was in a lot of pain and feeling every lump and bump in his wheelchair. I rang our nurse from The Kirkwood and she suggested bringing him in for pain management. He wasn’t in for more than 24 hours before his pain was completely sorted. We were able to bring him home after a few days and they helped us sort a hospital bed in the dining room ready for him.
“Paul wanted to pass away at home, which I was quite happy about. But he also said that if it got too much, he would go to the hospice.
Paul and Lesley
“In the early hours of the 21st June, Paul got himself out of bed and fell onto the carpet. After that, we decided it was time for him to go onto the In-Patient Unit. I felt awful, like I was sending him away. But the nurses reassured me and told me he’d understand.
“The following day we took him in and they were able to get him comfortable. It was a blessing. When he was there, the nurses and all the staff were lovely and wonderful.”
Paul died peacefully on the 27th June 2006, just one day before Lesley and Paul’s 10th wedding anniversary. To mark 15 years since Paul sadly died, Lesley set out to complete an incredible challenge to raise vital funds for the care Paul received in his final days.
“I’ve done the Midnight Memory Walk before, but I thought this year, with it being 15 years since Paul passed, I would walk 300,000 steps in June. I walk with a stick as I have a slipped disc in my back, so walking 10,000 steps a day is a lot for me.
“I’d do the same walk everyday and knew I’d reach my goal if I did it. I started walking a couple of weeks before the challenge to see how far I could get, almost like I was training for it.
Lesley, Charlotte and Edele
“Now I’ve done it, it’s really helped me. I can walk a bit faster now and it’s helped both my mobility and posture. I actually did around 360,000 steps because sometimes I’d switch it up and go a different route or walk to the shops. I still go out on walks now, even if it isn’t every day. And I’ve managed to raise £381 at the moment, but I’m hoping to get a little bit more.
“It’s my way of saying thank you and giving back. The hospice was just lovely. For all the times Paul said he didn’t want to go because everyone thinks of a hospice and thinks of dying. But it’s not that way at all, they are there to help with pain management and support you. It’s not just about end of life and people don’t always realise that until they’ve experienced it.”
If you'd like to support Lesley's fundraising challenge, you can do so by visiting her Just Giving page here.
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