MARY McGough made a real splash when she took the plunge for St Luke’s and raised more than £3.000 with a special swimming challenge.
Mary, who lives in Greystones, decided to raise money for our patient care in memory of her father Patrick, who was a St Luke’s community patient, receiving care at home as he struggled with the final stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, eventually dying on Christmas Day 2019.
And that’s what prompted Mary to make her own special gift to the hospice, swimming a mile - 56 lengths - at the popular outdoor pool in Hathersage and raising a fantastic total of £3,169.
“We were told to think about palliative care in the summer of 2019 and even though we knew he wouldn’t be going into St Luke’s, we wanted to have that sense of connection and support,” said Mary.
At first Patrick was able to enjoy occasional day visits to St Luke’s along with Mary, taking part in simple activities.
“We would have a coffee and a walk in the grounds - dad was a very outdoor person so he really liked that - and we were so happy simply sitting round the table with other people,” Mary explained.
“He did enjoy that, it was a lovely social time, very comfortable and for me it was good to meet people in a similar situation.”
As Patrick’s condition deteriorated, though, our Community Team stepped in to offer vital support in the home.
“It was also a great support to know that we had set up end of life care and that we wouldn’t be alone,” said Mary.
“It was important for me as much as for my father because it was somebody there for me, professional support, people I could trust and they were so supportive, a real listening ear.”
The support continued after Patrick’s death too, with Mary able to make use of our Bereavement Services.
“That’s a wonderful service to have and I was able to chat with them a couple of times,” she said.
It was her recognition of that level of support, that inspired Mary to complete her one woman swimming challenge.
“I simply wanted to give something back and it was a very positive experience for me mentally and for my overall wellbeing,” she said.
“I remember swimming as a child and I remember taking it up again in my late teens but after a hip replacement operation I didn’t swim for years so it was a real challenge starting again at Hathersage.
“My brother James came along and supported me and even though it was a rainy day it went very well - though I never imagined I would raise quite so much!”
To support Mary’s challenge simply visit Swim