Press release from St Mary’s Hospice, Selly Park.
Starting gun fired on 2011 Starlight Stroll countdown
The countdown has begun to Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice’s biggest fundraising event of the year, with an appeal to women across the city and Sandwell to sign up.
Starlight Stroll 2011 is to take place on Saturday, July 2, beginning at the University of Birmingham in Edgbaston at 10pm. The eight-mile route – slightly reduced from last year’s 10-mile Stroll – takes in the leafy suburbs of Edgbaston, Harborne and Selly Park.
Organisers are aiming to build on the success of the 2010 Starlight Stroll, which attracted 425 participants and raised in excess of £50,000 for the hospice.
Hospice Head of Fundraising and Marketing Caroline Taylor said: “Each year we care for around 1,000 people with life-limiting illnesses at our Day Hospice and Inpatient Unit in Selly Park and in their homes across Birmingham and Sandwell.
“And each year Starlight Stroll has grown in terms of money raised and ladies talking part. So wouldn’t it be fantastic if in 2011 there was one woman walking on July 2 for each of those 1,000 patients?”
Caroline added: “Birmingham St Mary’s also cares for and supports relatives of loved ones who have passed away at the hospice for as long as they need. For many Starlight Strollers the event is as much about remembering as it is about having a wonderful night out with close friends.
“So if you’re of the female persuasion and would like to support the vital work of your hospice in 2011, we’d love to welcome you along to Starlight Stroll.”
One of those who have already signed up is Karen Henry, aged 34, of Hall Green. The 2011 Starlight Stroll will be particularly poignant for her, as this summer marks the fifth anniversary of the passing of her mum Alison Hendry, who was cared for by the hospice, up until she died aged 51.
Karen said: “The hospice was invaluable for us as a family, as it enabled mum to achieve her final wish to die at home surrounded by her family. That was really important for mum and us as a family.
“She spent some time in the Inpatient Unit when her illness took a turn for the worse, but the hospice also was there like a shot when we needed support and equipment at home. In the 18 months that mum was ill, the hospice was there every step of the way, and this is why I’m stepping out for Starlight Stroll.”
Karen is among a team of more than 30 Strollers, largely made up of mums from her children’s school, Lakey Lane Primary School in Hall Green. Last year Karen’s group wore pyjamas but for 2011 Starlight Stroll team mates are busy making bumble bee costumes for the event.
“As a family we will be thinking very much about mum when we do Starlight Stroll, but it will also be a celebration and a great, fun night out,” Karen said.
Since its launch in 1979, Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice has cared for tens of thousands of people with life-limiting illnesses, such as cancer, motor neurone disease and MS.
With around 52 percent of the hospice’s budget reliant on public goodwill, community fundraising is crucial to ensuring its highly specialised services can continue to be offered to the people of Birmingham and Sandwell.
Much of Birmingham St Mary’s care is provided in the community, giving patients the chance to spend as much time as possible in their homes with loved ones. The charity also boasts a 25-bed inpatient unit and a 20-place day hospice
Relatives are also supported with bereavement preparation, physiotherapy tuition and counselling in addition to many other services.
To provide this care, Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice needs to raise more than £2 million each year in the community.