After holding the event virtually last year due to Covid-19, the St Barnabas House Night to Remember walk returned on Saturday 11 September – and is set to raise over £70,000.
‘Amazing’, ‘fun’ and ‘important’ were just three words used to describe the event that over 500 people took part in, walking 7, 13.1 or 20 miles
. After an energetic warm-up at Worthing Leisure Centre and music from Worthing Steel Band, the walkers were set off on their routes by the Mayor of Worthing and Town Crier at 10.30pm for a Night to Remember.
Many of those who took part did so in memory of a family member or friend cared for by the hospice, including 49-year-old Kris from Upper Beeding who walked the 13-mile route in memory of his wife, Nina. “This was my third time taking part in Night to Remember,” said Kris. “I take part to give a little something back to St Barnabas and to encourage people to reflect on life. Nina taught me to live life to the full – we fitted in two lifetimes worth of stuff in the time we had, and I hope that by sharing her story I can encourage others to do that too.
“In late 2015, we received the devastating diagnosis that Nina had kidney cancer, and that’s where our journey began,” said Kris. After surgery to remove the cancer, Nina got the all-clear, until three months later when her symptoms came back, and they found that the cancer had returned.
“Through this difficult time, Nina wanted to live, she was determined to not let her illness define her. She was having chemo, and even at her chemo appointments we would make a day of it, go for lunch, do something new, and just have fun. Between her appointments we would plan visits and trips away – she was an unstoppable force of nature.”
Fast forward to 2017 and Nina’s condition started to deteriorate, and she started to struggle at home. “Nina really wanted to speak to people in similar situations, and that’s when we found St Barnabas House, and although nervous about going, once there, with the welcome she received - she loved her time there. The team really helped get her pain under control and she made a good circle of friends there, a bunch of fun loving troublemakers, they called themselves the three musketeers, even though there were four of them!
“Nina was fortunate to get an in-patient space at St Barnabas house, initially for respite but unfortunately things escalated. St Barnabas House gave us dignity, but most of all, they gave us opportunity. They gave us the opportunity to spend all our time together, especially in the last few days of Nina's life and it allowed me to be a husband and be with my wife, and not concentrate on being a carer. The care was exemplary, all the staff considerate, caring and loving, and I can’t put into words how thankful I am for everything St Barnabas did for us. I can’t thank them all enough.”
On Sunday 08 April 2018, Nina sadly passed away at St Barnabas House with her husband Kris and her brother Martin, by her side.
“I know that Nina would be really proud of me for taking part in Night to Remember and she’d be there walking right beside me if she could. She was beautiful, had a wonderful soul, put everyone before herself, and would drag anyone and everyone along with her to whatever fun thing was happening. No matter where we’d go, we’d have fun, we spent a lot of time laughing! You’d enjoy anything with Nina because she was enthused about everything that she did. She loved life and made the most out of it, even towards the end. As Nina would say ‘You have to grab the tiger by the tail and hang on for the ride.’”
Explaining what Night to Remember means to the charity, Events Fundraiser Fiona Anderson said: “We’re so grateful to everyone who took part in Night to Remember 2021 and £70,000 is an amazing amount to have raised. The last year has been challenging for everyone and we’re humbled that our local community have been so supportive by continuing to fundraise and donate.
“After holding the event virtually last year, it was great to be able to bring back Night to Remember in person, with the solidarity it brings to those taking part. We know that many people take part in memory of family or friends who have been cared for by the hospice and that shared experience is what brings people together and creates the amazing atmosphere.
“As well as thanking all the amazing participants, I’d like to say a special thank you to our volunteers and everyone who donated their time and services, as well as this year’s event sponsor, Rug Doctor. The event wouldn’t be possible without you. We look forward to seeing you all again next year for Night to Remember 2022!”