Newly-weds honeymoon dream shattered after cancer diagnosis
- Credit: St Helena Hospice
People are being encouraged to help walk the distance to Mexico to support a couple whose dream honeymoon was scuppered by lockdown and a cancer diagnosis.
The Miles of Hope challenge is calling on people to collectively cover the 5,321 miles from St Helena Hospice in Colchester to Ciudad del Carmen by walking, running or cycling this month.
Naomi Roberts and Georgina Fisher had chosen the beachside resort city as their honeymoon destination last year – before the pandemic hit and Naomi was diagnosed with incurable bowel cancer.
Georgina, 43, is one of those already to pledge to run for the challenge, knowing first-hand how funds raised will help to support the hospice where Naomi stayed for four weeks in November and January.
Naomi, 40, said: "I’ve never been, but we were going to go to Mexico for our honeymoon. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen now, but before I was diagnosed, that’s where we were going to go.
"We were looking forward to just enjoying their food, the surrounding area, the beaches, the sunshine, the massages.
"We were going to go and just totally relax," she added.
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The couple married on February 16 after 10 years together, and Naomi is now at home in Tendring with Georgina.
Naomi added the food, ice cream and bubble baths offered at the hospice – as well as the support the couple continue to receive from the team there and nurse Debbie – have helped keep spirits high.
She said: “It was a brilliant experience for me being in the hospice, and the main thing is they help me to be free of pain.
“When I found out I’d got terminal bowel cancer, I was completely in shock, couldn’t take it on for a while. I was very shocked and I guess I still am. That’s where the counselling from St Helena Hospice comes in.
“My counsellor Lynda rings me weekly and has a good old chat with me, she’s great. And Vickie the chaplain is fantastic, she will pray with me, pray over the phone. Both are still in touch with me now I’m home, which is wonderful."
Naomi added the hospice is far more than just a place to receive medical help during someone's final days.
She said: "The staff are amazing and they are what makes the hospice what it is. They’re friendly, they are reassuring, and nothing’s too much for them.
“The people from St Helena Hospice are in tune with how you might be feeling, so they’ll go out of their way to spend time to try and reassure you, to sit and have a bit of a laugh with you.
“Georgina gets a lot of support from nurse Debbie too, actually, but she’s also got her own counselling through St Helena and she said it’s really positive. I’m pleased she managed to find something that’s useful for her."
Sarah Phillips, fundraiser at St Helena Hospice, has already signed up to do the challenge.
Ms Phillips said: “I decided to dedicate all my marathon training miles in April to Naomi and her wife Georgina, helping them get to Mexico in spirit, the honeymoon they dreamed of but now can no longer experience physically.
“Together we can easily cover 5,321 miles by the end of April and by being sponsored just to have a walk, run or cycle, we’ll be raising money for St Helena Hospice to support Naomi and Georgina and other people in need of hospice support locally.”
Participants are asked to raise a minimum of £50 in sponsorship, and can sign up to the challenge here.