Mum to repay hospice that helped her get through cancer battle

Emily Toms
Emily Toms

A mum who suffers from breast cancer will take on a hiking challenge to repay the charity that is currently caring for her.

Emily Toms, 37, from Berkhamsted, was diagnosed with the condition last year and has received care from Northchurch-based The Hospice of St Francis since then.

The charity has organised a fundraising midnight walk, where participants can take on a circular five or 11-mile route from The Hemel Hempstead School on Saturday, June 28.

Emily, who is mother to two-year-old Abigail, will use the shorter course to improve her fitness levels as part of her ongoing recovery programme.

Emily said: “I’d done a bit of fundraising for the hospice in the past.

“But having cancer myself, and experiencing the services it provides, has brought it home to me just how vital they are to our community and how much they need support.

“I’m determined to do all I can to raise funds, so I’ve signed up to the midnight walk.”

She is also organising a charity football night at Ashlyns School and a comedy night at The Goat pub, both in Berkhamsted and on Saturday, June 14.

She said: “Following on from chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy at hospital, I’ve received complementary therapy, acupuncture and attended workshops at the hospice’s Spring Centre.”

She also attended its HOPE course to help her move on with my life after cancer.

She said: “Being young I never thought of a hospice as being a place which could care for me but I’ve been proved so wrong.

“Out of so many local organisations, the hospice has been far and away the best at supporting me physically.”

Its staff have relieved her pain through massages, given her practical advice on accessing further support.

Emily added that its ‘friendly, caring staff’ have given her emotional support and an outlet for her feelings.

She said: “I’m digging out my old pink trainers for the 28th and, although I still feel quite tired, most days, am determined to complete the walk with my team.

“I’m hoping to spur us all on to raise as much as we can to ensure that the hospice is there for others who may unexpectedly find themselves diagnosed with a serious illness like me.”

Entry to the walk is £20 - or £15 for under-18s.

The midnight walk starts at 9.30pm and is open to everyone older than 11.

Participants are asked to raise as much sponsorship money as they can for the hospice, which needs to raise £4.7million a year to fund its free services.

This year actress Rosie Marcel, who plays heart surgeon Jac Naylor in the BBC One drama Holby City will be sounding the starting klaxon to begin the walk

Hospice community fundraiser Jamie Smith said: “Emily’s story shows that the hospice and its Spring Centre offer such an important support role for those in our local community.

“Please do come and walk the Midnight Walk on June 28, so we can raise as much as we can to fund our specialist care for those who need it.”

Click here to find out more about the walk