Mother and son tackle the Sussex Landmarks Hike

Jake's grandparents, Diane and Martin
Jake's grandparents, Diane and Martin

A mother and son will be among those raising money for St Catherine’s Hospice by taking part in the Sussex Landmarks Hike during Hospice Care Week.

Anne Marie Grove and her son, Jake, will join hundreds of others this Sunday for the fundraiser in memory of Jake’s nanny and grandad.

Ann Marie with her son Jake

Ann Marie with her son Jake

His grandmother Diane, was diagnosed with breast cancer which later spread to her stomach and bones.

At the same time as Diane’s diagnosis, Martin, her husband and Ann Marie’s father-in-law, was diagnosed with advanced throat cancer.

At first Diane and Martin were in hospital together but as Diane became less well she was desperate to return home, as it was the place she felt most comfortable.

St Catherine’s gave her the opportunity to do that with St Catherine’s and East Surrey Hospital working together to help her and Martin spend as much time with each other as possible.

When Diane became too ill to stay at home she went to St Catherine’s Hospice.

While Diane was at St Catherine’s, hospital doctors from East Surrey brought Martin to visit.

Ann Marie said: “Diane and Martin had always loved their garden and seeing the pair of them holding hands in St Catherine’s garden during those visits is something I’ll always treasure.”

When Diane became very unwell, St Catherine’s worked to get her back home where she died surrounded by her family. Shortly after Martin became less well too.

He did not want to die in hospital so he also returned home. The family lost Diane and Martin only ten weeks apart.

Ann Marie said: “Jake has found losing his Nanny and Granddad really hard and it’s made him feel angry.

“The hospice is helping him though, by giving him counselling and a safe place to talk through his feelings.

“St Catherine’s has gone above and beyond for our family.

“Their care allowed Diane and Martin precious time together and to die at home surrounded by their family.

“When Jake saw a leaflet about the Sussex Landmarks Hike I explained that the hospice doesn’t always have money to help everyone who is sick. Jake immediately decided we should help raise more money. He said Nanny and Granddad would have loved a long walk in the countryside too. And he’s right - they would have.

“I hope the Sussex Landmarks Hike will help Jake find something positive amongst so much pain and heartbreak. We all miss his wonderful Nanny and Granddad but the memories St Catherine’s helped us make are ones we’ll treasure forever.”

To sponsor Anne Marie and Jake visit their Justgiving page at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/agroves69