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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Brothers band together for Hospice marathon challenge

Brothers Scott and Grant McFarlane and banding together to run the London Marathon next month.

The determined pair are regular five-a-side players but have had to drastically step up their exertions in preparation for the 26-mile endurance run in the UK capital.

They have already raised almost £1700 for their chosen charity beneficiaries, which include St Margaret of Scotland Hospice.

Scott, 29, told us about why they are taking part in the event.

He said: “Our Aunt Elissa spent her last few months in the Hospice and received invaluable care in the final stages of her life. Our family will always be indebted for that reason.

“Grant was fortunate to win a place in the open ballot for the marathon. It felt opportune for me to take a ballot place through work.

“This has allowed me to raise funds for the Hospice as well as for the Dementia Revolution, another worthwhile cause.”

Describing their training, Scott, who works for Clydesdale Bank, said the brothers knew they were taking a huge step.

But both he and Grant, a 31-year-old joiner, are happy the hard work is literally paying off in the form of sponsorship, and expect to feel even more gratified come the end of the run.

Scott said: “It is rewarding to see the fundraising amount go up, and does continually motivate us to put the mileage in.

“Hopefully the day itself is rewarding and can be looked back on as a proud achievement.

“We’ve not quite started from zero fitness as we play football regularly, but pre-Christmas the furthest either of us had ran before was 10k – a quarter of what we’ll do on the day itself.

“Training is going well and times are looking optimistic but absolutely the hardest part is the knocks and pains on your body. To say it’s tough going would be an understatement.

“The fact that we’ve never done anything like this before makes it more interesting and certainly more challenging.”

Asked what he was looking forward to most, Scott said: “Hitting that 26-mile mark knowing you’ve only got 0.2 miles left as you run up to the Palace.”

And the least? “The preceding 26 miles,” he added.

You can sponsor the McFarlane brothers at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ScottandGrantMcFarlane

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Kiltwalker Pauline inspired by Hospice’s community spirit

The generous fundraisers who take on challenges and organise events for the Hospice are often motivated by a personal connection.

However, we also enjoy substantial backing from members of the community, whose efforts are fuelled by their desire to help those in need by supporting a local charity.

Pauline Kenney, who is participating in the Glasgow Kiltwalk this month alongside her dad, Jim, has no emotional tie to the Hospice but has been inspired to take on the gruelling challenge for an “iconic organisation with an outstanding reputation”.

The 39-year-old, from Dumbarton, has been training for several months and is racking up the miles – but having the chance to enjoy so much time with Jim has made the experience far more enjoyable.

Pauline said: “Most weekends my dad and I will walk approximately 10 miles on a Saturday morning. Now the nights are clearer, we have also been walking some week nights. 

 “The hardest thing has definitely been the Scottish weather. Sunshine, showers, snow, gale-force winds – we have had them all! It is definitely character building.

“I have heard from previous participants that it is a great day and as I walk a lot already, it was something I felt I could achieve. This will be the first event like this that I will have undertaken.

“Spending time with my dad has been the best thing about it. It has been great to go out for walks and have a chat. Listening to his stories makes the time pass.”

With the event now drawing close, Pauline, a Web Officer at West Dunbartonshire Council, knows the biggest physical test is just around the corner.

But she sees too many positives to dwell on how hard the challenge might be.

She said: “I am really looking forward to the atmosphere of the day and being part of a fun event while raising money for a great cause.

“My dad turns 70 two days after the Kiltwalk, so I am also looking forward to sharing this milestone with him and a few celebratory drinks when we cross the finish line.

“I know my legs will be sore – I can feel the pain already. But it will be worth it to know that it was to raise money.

“I don’t have a personal connection to the Hospice. I chose St Margaret’s because it is such an iconic organisation with an outstanding reputation in the community. I know that it relies on donations to continue to provide the service.” 

You can sponsor Pauline at glasgowkiltwalk2019.everydayhero.com/uk/pauline-3 

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