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Rachel's Story Rachel Marathon

Rachel’s Story: Walking 26 miles for Weldmar because they went the extra mile caring for my whole family

9th April 2024


Fundraising News Personal Stories

This May, Rachel Wakely from Weymouth and her friend Catherine will be walking a marathon distance of 26.2 miles to raise money for Weldmar Hospicecare.

Rachel is taking part in memory of two much loved family members – her great aunt Angela, and her grandad Roger, who passed away in Weldmar’s care just last August.

Rachel says, “My friend Catherine and I are doing it together. We had previously signed up for Weldmar’s own Jurassic Coast Challenge a couple of years ago which sadly had to be cancelled as it was due to happen just after the death of the Queen, but we came up with our own route and walked that distance ourselves anyway.

“With my grandad being cared for by Weldmar last year, I said to Catherine we should do something even bigger, which she was up for. Clare from Weldmar’s Fundraising team pointed me in the direction of the Jurassic Coast Ultra Challenge website, which was double the distance of what we did before! My grandad’s birthday would have been 17th May and the walk is the day after, so as well as pushing myself to do something out of my comfort zone, the date meant it would mean a little bit more to me.”

All of the money that Rachel and Catherine raise will go towards the specialist end of life care that Weldmar provides to adults in Dorset who have a life limiting condition, and expected to be in their last year of life. The charity also supports loved ones throughout this difficult journey.

Rachel’s great aunt Angela was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and admitted to the hospice in 2011, where she wanted to be for her last days. Rachel says, “I was quite a bit younger then so I don’t remember loads about it, but I do remember going to visit with my mum and dad and sister. I know that my grandad – Angela’s brother – got a lot of support at the time.”

“My grandad then fought his own battle with cancer for five years, undergoing various treatments. During my Grandad’s treatment, my Grandma found out she had Oesophagus cancer and a little while after her operation my Grandad found out he wasn’t able to have more treatment. From there he was okay for a while and then deteriorated quite quickly. This was at the height of Covid, and he was determined to stay with my grandma. Weldmar arranged for a hospital bed to be put in downstairs.”

“He didn’t want to go into the hospice himself, and so Weldmar at Home came in. They visited regularly for almost a month and were absolutely fantastic, and none of us would have coped without them. At the end they were coming in twice a day, and they looked after my grandma as much as my grandad. They had been married 59 years, and were everything to each other, so she really needed that support. The team from Weldmar provided that extra little bit of reassurance and comfort, and their presence provided emotional support for the rest of the family too.”

“When he died, Weldmar were there. The nurse asked my sister if she would go and get some of his favourite flowers from the garden, because Grandad loved his garden. It was such a nice little personal touch that meant so much.

“We’re all so grateful for what they did, and my grandma wanted me to pass on her sincere thanks. As well as the nurses, that thanks extends to everyone else who is part of the team, because it couldn’t happen without all of you doing what you do.”

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I don't think I've met nicer people. My family will sing their praises until we're blue in the face. When a photo of two nurses was posted on Facebook, my Grandma immediately recognised one of them. You do remember them, they're not just another nurse in a hospital, because they look after you as well as the person who needs the care. They don't rush you, they stay and they help you, and we have got nothing but thanks for them.

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Rachel says that she’s been well supported in her fundraising efforts. “Weldmar is close to a lot of people. As well as my family, a lot of friends have had relatives who have needed them, so they’ve helped me reach my target already. I’m really conscious about consistently asking for sponsorship, so I set up my fundraising page with a write up of my story and posted it on Facebook and Instagram to start it, and only a couple of times since. A good way to keep people up to date without directly asking for money was through an Instagram account we set up for our training walks, with pictures of where we’re walking and how many miles we have done. We held a coffee morning on 13th April to get a bit extra.”

“We’re starting at Lodmoor in Weymouth, and walking along the coast all the way to Bridport. I love walking, but I’ve never walked more that the 13 miles of the Jurassic Coast Challenge, and this is 26 miles. Not including breaks, we’ve set ourselves a target of completing it in ten hours. I feel like I’ll be really earning the sponsorship money!

The nurses go the extra mile. They look after you as well as the person they are caring for, and that means so much. We’re lucky to have our immediate family all living locally, but for that person who might be on their own the Weldmar nurse might be the only person they see, and they really do go above and beyond.

Our family will continue to support Weldmar. A lot of us play Your Hospice Lottery, and I’m already thinking about what the next challenge might be. We also donate and shop at Weldmar shops.”



Our thanks to Rachel for sharing her story, and for continuing to support Weldmar. Sharing stories of our care helps other local people to understand the nature of what Weldmar do, and the difference that we can make during one of life’s most difficult journeys.

If you would like to share your story, please contact james.oneill@weld-hospice.org.uk.

Weldmar needs to raise £26,000 every single day to keep our much needed services going. You can find out how to support us here.


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