Summer rain can’t dampen Kimberley’s spirit in munro challenge

Kimberley Hearns has completed stage two of her determined fundraising bid in memory of her dad after climbing five munros in just three days last month.

Having already run the Race For Life 10K in Glasgow as the first leg of her challenge, Kimberley knew the going was only going to get tougher – although she didn’t appreciate quite how much.

Describing her climb from 16-18 June, which took place in difficult and wet weather conditions, she told us: “We did Ben Nevis on the first day – thankfully it was dry but it was freezing! I was climbing with my friend, who works for another charity.

“We changed the last two munros in the hope that it would be drier but it wasn’t! It was worse than on any practice run. We did one walk in preparation when it was snowing but this was worse.

“The visibility was really poor which added to the challenge. But we were both doing it for a reason so there was never really a point where we thought we wouldn’t do it.

“We climbed Ben Nevis in a really good time – about six hours  – considering how busy it was.”

Asked about the highlight of the trip, Kimberley saw the funny side, explaining: “The high point was getting to the bottom of the last hill!

“We did two munros on each of the last two days. I’ve got the bug now but I don’t know if I’d do it over three days again!”

The final stage of the challenge is a 3K open-water swim in Loch Lomond, which Kimberley expects to be even harder than the hill climbs.

But she admits her training has given her confidence ahead of the event on 3 August.

She said: “I’ve been training in the pool and adding to the distance every week – I’m up to 2K now.

“I always knew this would be the hardest part but, the same as with the hillwalking, you just get on with it.

“It’s not the distance that bothers me – it’s the difference of swimming in open water. You can’t really stop. I feel a bit better now that I’ve been training. My attitude is really just go for it.”

If you would like to donate to Kimberley’s appeal, which has now raised more than £1300 for the Hospice, please go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kimberley-hearns

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Sr Rita thanks Greig for 5K A Day In May fundraising

Greig Robertson visited the Hospice last week to donate a cheque for the funds raised through his amazing 5k A Day In May challenge.

As well as inspiring several individual fundraisers and a Hospice team to get involved in the walk, run, cycle or swim challenge, Greig took part himself, running a 5k (3.1 miles) of his own every single day throughout the month.

His incredible efforts raised £1570. Sr Rita and Sr Kate were delighted to meet Greig as he handed over the cheque before talking to us about the challenge.

The Celtic FC youth coach is a regular runner and gym goer and his experience of being around a fitness environment meant the distance he had to cover wasn’t daunting in itself – even if he refused to take his foot off the pedal, completing every 5k in 21-24 minutes.

But the commitment required to complete his task for 31 days in a row was a different matter.

Greig said: “Trying to fit it in was difficult. It was tough to come straight home from work and go out running, because I have kids and I’d be feeling guilty about going straight back out.

“It’s also hard mentally to get home from a day at work and go back out again.”

Greig admits to being “overwhelmed” by the support he received in his venture and hopes that he can make it an annual event.

Reflecting on his fundraising total, he said: “I thought people I know would throw in a few bob. But the generosity of people has been overwhelming.

“I think it has mileage for the future. I would like to get schools involved in taking part and maybe finish with a big run at a park on the last day.”

Greig, from Duntocher, was inspired to create the event after visiting his dad when he was being cared for at the Hospice.

And he says remembering his personal mission played a part in helping him through the challenge when the going got tougher.

He added: “In the short time my dad was at the Hospice I said to myself I’d do something to help towards costs in a very small way.

“That was my motivation every day when I was running. It’s an incredible place with incredible people and I know that it is getting more and more difficult for them to raise money.”

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Kimberley’s incredible run, hike and swim challenge

“I had it in my head that I wanted to do something to help the Hospice. Then I thought I might as well do it properly.”

Kimberley Hearns wasn’t sure exactly what to take on as a fundraising activity in memory of her dad – but she was sure she didn’t want to do anything by half.

At the turn of the year, she and a friend started hillwalking, with the aim of bagging a munro a month. Then things branched out and gathered pace.

Now Kimberley, a software consultant from New Stevenston in Lanarkshire, finds herself in the middle of an incredible three-pronged challenge.

Having completed the Race for Life 10k run in Glasgow, she has ticked off the first and possibly most straightforward task.

Next up is conquering five munros, but not at the rate of one per month. Instead, Kimberley will climb the range – Ben Nevis, Bidean More, Na Gruagaichean, Stob Ban and Mullach nan Coirean – in just three days.

And in August, she faces the “daunting” task of a 3k open water swim in Loch Lubnaig, near Callander.

Kimberley, 36, said: “The Race for Life went really well. For the walking, I’m apprehensive about having sore knees and feet. I’m not a regular hillwalker but started hillwalking earlier this year.

“It’s the swimming that’s really daunting. I did a lot of swimming when I was younger but nothing like this. It was in a pool!

“Swimming in a loch, you’re not in a still pool of water – there are things like the current, temperature and weather to consider. That’s what’s challenging.”

Kimberley has already raised more than £1000 on her JustGiving page in support of St Margaret of Scotland Hospice, with months of the challenge still to run.

The appeal has struck a chord with friends, family and colleagues.

She added: “My work has been great. We held a coffee morning last month and raised £116. Loads of people have had family and friends in a similar position.”

Explaining her very personal connection to the Hospice on the fundraising page, Kimberley said: “The time my dad spent in St Margaret’s gave him much needed rest and peace.

“The staff do an amazing job, they provide a place for families going through the hardest of times to be together and know that their loved ones are receiving the best care.

“I’d like to say thank you for making the time my dad spent with you just that little bit more comfortable. For the peace you gave to my mum, knowing he was looked after while he was with you.

“Please donate anything you can to help me raise funds for this amazing service.”

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Jessica, 10, loses her locks to help cause close to family

Ten-year-old Jessica Steven has raised more than £200 for the Hospice – by having almost half of her hair cut off.

Her mum Jacqueline explained that this is the second time brave Jessica has gone for the chop to help a good cause. On both occasions, she donated her locks to the Little Princess Trust.

Jacqueline, from Duntocher, whose uncle passed away at the Hospice last year, spoke to us about the challenge Jessica took on last weekend.

She said: “She was a bit apprehensive, because there was a lot coming off. Friends and family were there to watch. It is a big thing.

“People always comment on her hair, it’s so long. I’m really proud. She’s taken on board what we’ve told her about how this can help people.

“There’s nothing bad you could say about the treatment my uncle got or us when we visited as a family. The Hospice is a really humbling place to visit.

“The staff are incredible. You are treated like family, which is what you want. It’s reassuring for people to know how well-treated they would be.

“It’s nice for Jessica to be able to do this. She did it two years ago then thought it would nice to be able to do it for the Hospice. Everyone’s making a fuss of her and telling her she’s done a lovely thing.”

You can add to Jessica’s fundraising collection at: http://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jacqueline-harkin2

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Cian takes chance to home in on fundraising target

After 12 years living in Glasgow, Cian O’Driscoll calls the city his home.
But when the chance came up to raise funds for St Margaret of Scotland Hospice by returning to the place he grew up, it was a challenge he couldn’t turn down.

Earlier this month, his hard work came to fruition when he competed in the Limerick Marathon.

His time of 3hrs 41mins wasn’t the only impressive figure involved, with Cian’s fundraising drive collecting a fantastic sum of more than £800.

He told us: “I get back to Ireland about once every three or four months to see friends and family but this was my first time doing the marathon there.

“My friend, Fred Cartmel, who was a patient at the Hospice suggested that I run on behalf of SMH.

“Fred arrived at the Hospice in, I think, late January of this year. He passed away in February.

“I visited him several times while he was at St Margaret’s and he spoke warmly of the wonderful care he was receiving. It wasn’t an easy time, either for Fred or for his wife, Mo, but the nurses and doctors and all the care staff at St Margaret’s were extraordinary in their generosity and compassion.

“They even helped with the wedding planning when Fred and Mo decided to get married.”

Cian, a lecturer in politics at Glasgow University, is an experienced runner and, with the marathon falling on a milestone date, it made sense to return to his old stomping ground for his fundraising effort.

He added: “I turned 40 the week of the marathon. I’ve previously run the Athens, Barcelona, and Loch Ness marathons. But this was my first time running the Limerick race, which was my hometown run.

“It looked like a super race, plus it was a nice opportunity to see my family and celebrate my birthday all in one go.

“There were also a few challenges along the way in preparation. There’s one particular hill on the West Highland Way that was a huge struggle, while there was a very wet and cold run along the canal at Clydebank that led me to question my sanity!

“But, honestly, the generosity I encountered was heart-warming. People who I hadn’t seen for years or whom I barely knew responded to my JustGiving page by making a donation. It was quite humbling. It then meant I really had to run the marathon!”

You can make a donation to Cian’s JustGiving page at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cian-o-driscoll1

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Douglas delivering Swede success in Hospice appeal

Douglas Mackechnie is running the Stockholm Marathon on Saturday 1 June.

The 36-year-old, from Dumbarton, has run the distance twice before and is doing so this time to raise funds for the Hospice in memory of a friend who was cared for here.

Douglas, who works as an engineer, said: “My friend was not even 60. People maybe think patients are always a lot older.

“The Hospice deliver a vital service to families when they need it most. They don’t turn anyone away and need our support.

“The Sisters and volunteers do an amazing job. This place is vital to my community. Please help me help them.”

Looking ahead to the race, Douglas is aiming for a time of 3hrs 30 mins to 3hrs 45 mins but is wary that early summer weather could be a factor.

He added: “It could be really hot. But I’m looking forward to making a holiday of it and pretty confident. The training has gone well and I’m pretty confident of where I’m at. It will be a great experience.”

You can contribute to Douglas’ appeal at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/duggie-mackechnie2

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Fast-footed Kenny takes on 53-mile Highland Fling

Ultrarunner Kenny McManus has added his name to the list of Hospice supporters who will put their heart and soul into fundraising on the last weekend on this month.

Kenny McManus

The dad, from Cumbernauld, is taking on the Highland Fling in tribute to the staff who cared for his gran – which means he’ll need to keep his fast feet going for 53 miles along the West Highland Way from Milngavie to Tyndrum.

Also in action on 27 and 28 April are scores of Kiltwalkers and several marathon runners who, like Kenny, have spent the first few months of the year training for the arduous task they face.

Kenny turns 37 on the day of the race (Saturday 27 April) but will put thoughts of celebration to the back of his mind as he approaches the start line at 6am.

He knows the long and hilly road that lies in front of him will be the toughest physical test he has ever faced – but it’s a test he is looking forward to.

Kenny said: “The Hospice helped care for my gran in her last few weeks. The support you offered us and the help you gave my gran to make her comfortable can never be taken away from you guys,

“I’m doing this as a small thank you for the excellent care the Hospice provide.

“I chose this event as because it’s located near me and it’s on one of Scotland’s best- known walks. It also appealed to me because it’s a massive challenge, even for the elite runners.

“The goes over Conic Hill at Balmaha and has a 7500ft climb – so it isn’t a nice, flat run.

“There is a time limit of 15 hours on the day so hopefully that is plenty of time to allow me to finish.”

His 16 weeks of preparation have included several very early starts and overcoming all sorts of extreme barriers, including running up hills in deep snow and taking on a shortened version of the Ultrarun – at just the 38 miles.

Kenny, who works as a quality engineer, added: “Most training runs have taken place before 6.30am on cold, wet Scottish winter mornings.

“During training, I’ve even started an 18-mile run at 10pm, running into the early hours, so as not to disturb family time

“I’ve run Conic hill numerous times and run a 38-mile race, as well as hill sprints in the snow. The hardest bit of all, though, has been time away from the family and the early rises on the weekend to make sure I am home before my wife goes to work.”

Endurance athletes often look for motivation in the same places – the sense of achievement at accomplishing such an amazing feat, and the prospect of feeling relief and reward at seeing the finish line and the faces of loved ones on the approach.

Kenny said: “The best thing about the entire process has been the challenge. The thing I’m looking forward to most on the day is seeing my wife and daughter at the end and for that tired cuddle from them, knowing I have done everything I can to get there to see them.”

Kenny is close to reaching his fundraising target of £50 – you can donate to his appeal at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kenneth-mcmanus1

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London calling for supermum Holly

Supermum Holly Shivas is running the London Marathon on 28 April with two big targets in mind. One is to raise as much funding as possible for St Margaret of Scotland Hospice in memory of her granny and grandpa – and she is already close to doubling her target total of £500. The other goal is one she shares with everyone who is taking part – crossing the finish line after months of gruelling training.

Holly with customised running vest

Clocking up so many miles is all the more amazing given Holly, 31, has two small children, the youngest of whom is aged just one. We asked Holly, from Stewarton in Ayrshire, how her training has gone and why she chose to raise funds for the Hospice.

Holly said:

“Prior to this, the furthest I had run was a 10k, which was 10 years ago. So it’s been very tough to get back into it. I started training just after Christmas and have found it difficult due to having two daughters, ages three and one.

“I have loved the training with the exception of the time I have had to spend away from my children and am really excited to take part in the marathon now. I choose the London marathon because I love a challenge and I couldn’t think of anything more challenging to myself than running that distance.

“I had signed up to do the marathon last year and deferred my place due to being pregnant. I didn’t have any charity in mind until I made the decision to give something back to the Hospice after seeing their great work.

“I saw the amazing work the Hospice carried out when both my grandparents were there. My granny loved the care so much she stayed over a year! My grandpa got to share a room with my granny when he took unwell and, due to the amazing service offered at the Hospice, they were together again in my papa’s last days.

“The staff were so friendly and the care provided to my grandparents was just amazing to see. I’m excited to see how much I can raise now. I started off with a nice target of £500 which I have already exceeded and I am confident I can raise more.”

You can donate to Holly’s appeal on her JustGiving page at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/holly-shivas

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Fantastic 5K a Day in May event is Greig’s way of showing support … and helping you get active!

Greig Robertson has organised a fantastic new event to encourage people of all ages and abilities to get active and raise funds for the Hospice.

Greig Robertson, right

5K a Day in May invites you to walk, run, cycle or swim 5k in every day of the month, on your own or in a team made up of friends, family members, classmates or colleagues.

Greig, an Under-18s coach at Celtic FC who lives in Duntocher, took part in a Q&A to us to tell us about why he organised the event and what it will involve.

If you would like to make a donation, you can do so via the event’s JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/greigrob78

Why did you decide to organise this event?

Greig: I always wanted to organise an event that would help raise some much-needed funds for the Hospice and as a keen runner I thought that this would be a perfect match.

Tell us a bit about it – how can people take part?

The idea is to try and cover 5k each day for the month of May by running, walking, cycling or swimming, as individuals or as a group. For example, five work colleagues might want to get involved in this event and each walk 1k each day during their lunch break. Primary school pupils could complete 5k a day as a class. Any looking for ideas or to get involved can contact the Hospice fundraising team on 0141 435 7018.

Do you have any personal connection to the Hospice?

My dad lost a short battle with cancer in December 2017 and spent his last few days in St Margaret of Scotland Hospice. I was touched by the warmth and empathy shown towards my dad and all the family whenever we were there. The work carried out by the staff is incredible and I made a commitment to myself shortly after the passing of my dad that I would do my very best to help and support the wonderful efforts of everyone associated with the Hospice. 

What has been the best thing about organising the event and fundraising?

I visited a local primary school recently to invite them to take part in the event and the idea was so warmly received by the head teacher, which provided me with hope and encouragement that this event could be a success. 

What message would you like to send to people looking to take part?

Please get involved in any way you can and let’s try and raise as much money as possible for this incredible cause. If people miss a day here and there then it isn’t going to be a failed challenge. Hopefully this can raise money but also possibly inspire you to make lifestyle changes. 

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Numbers game adds up to an unforgettable occasion for Maggie’s Walkers

Three generations, eight members, four hometowns.. but just one great team.

Maggie’s Walkers are one of the biggest groups among the 47 Kiltwalkers taking part in the event later this month who will raise funds for the Hospice.

They will walk in memory of Margaret Tilbey, a beloved mum, gran and great-gran to various members of the team.

Sisters Julie Murphy and Linda Gierasik are the elder stateswomen of the group, at 51 and 56 respectively, while the middle generation features 33-year-old Carolann and 31-year-old Gary Draycott, Angie Brown, 31, and Rachel Gierasik, 27.

The youngest walkers – and those with the highest step count by virtue of their little strides – will be Lucy Draycott, six, and Mia Brown, eight.

The Draycotts are from Dumbarton, while the Browns live in nearby Vale of Leven and Linda and Rachel are making their way to the event in Glasgow from Dundee.

With the range of ages comes different levels of experience in endurance activities – but Julie, from Helensburgh, expects all of the walkers to enjoy an unforgettable day by drawing on their strength in numbers.

She said: “We are really looking forward to doing this as a family, spending time together, getting fitter and raising money for a cause that is close to our hearts.

“Some of the team have done the Kiltwalk before, as well as the Moonwalk, Pretty Muddy and other running events.  For some of us, this is the first time doing anything like this.”

With several weeks still to go, Maggie’s Walkers have already raised an incredible sum of almost £1300.

But they are not done yet and have set a target of £1500 by the time the event comes around – although Julie says the family will “never repay” the staff at the Hospice for the care provided to Margaret.

She explained: “Our Mum/Gran/Great-Granny was in the Hospice last year for the last few weeks of her life.

“The care she received was amazing and the staff were wonderful. We can never repay the support the hospice gave to our family during such a difficult time.”

To support Maggie’s Walkers, whose fundraising total for the Kiltwalk will be topped up by 40% courtesy of Sir Tom Hunter and The Hunter Foundation, please go to:

https://glasgowkiltwalk2019.everydayhero.com/uk/maggie-s-walkers

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