By Lorna Riddle
Community Champion for The Mary Potter Foundation
The Walk for Love has been going for nearly three decades now and for good reason.
What started out as a memorial walk by the nurses to honour their patients, soon became a much loved annual event open to include families and friends.
For me what I love about the walk is that there is a sense of shared loss among those who have experienced a bereavement. And for those who attend year after year, it is a special day where we give ourselves permission to mourn, to remember, to reflect and to pay it forward for those who now need Mary Potter Care.
When I started working for the Foundation in 2012, one of the first families I was fortunate to meet was the Daley family.
Every family I meet is special and each one has a unique story to tell, but this family really stood out for me at that time.
Barry and his two daughters Lisa and Emma had said goodbye to their wife and mother Maria in the Hospice five years earlier. The girls were barely in their 20’s when their mum died. I couldn’t help but draw comparisons with my own daughter who was the same age.
But the Daley family became involved in the walk long before they had a personal experience with the Hospice.
Being a kind and caring person with a strong faith, Maria heard about the Walk for Love and decided to get involved. Maria felt it was the right thing to do, to help people at the end of their life.
So in 2001 Maria registered for the first time and she fundraised a few hundred dollars to help the Hospice. And she repeated this every year for the next five years.
However, life took an unexpected turn and Maria was diagnosed with cancer. The Hospice that she had been so supportive of over the previous six years, would now play a different part in her life.
In 2007 Maria spent her last few days in the care of the Mary Potter Hospice.
Barry, Lisa and Emma vowed to continue Maria’s legacy by taking part in the Walk for Love for as long as they could. And they have done just that!
Every year they’ve walked and members of their extended family; uncles and aunties and partners join in when they can. It is truly a family affair.
Whilst I never met Maria, from what her family have told me, I am sure she would be very proud of Barry and her two girls for their commitment to what she started 16 years earlier.
The Daley family have already registered for the 2017 Walk for Love. Will you join them?
If you have lost someone special - register today and be a part of a community who understands where you are right now. And if you haven’t experienced a loss in the Hospice – register or donate anyway. You never know when you or someone you care about will need Mary Potter Care.
To register click here.