A healthcare assistant inspired to join the profession after witnessing the care given to her mum before she died is taking part in a special walk in her memory.
Naomi Billingham, 34, and two-year-old daughter Connie will be among hundreds of patients, loved ones, hospital staff and supporters taking part in Walk for Wards.
The event is being held at the Bathurst Estate in Cirencester on Sunday, May 8.
People can choose to walk either 3km or 10km to raise money for Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals Charity’s Gamma Scanner Appeal or for a ward of their choice.
Naomi is walking to say thank you to the critical care team who looked after her mum Gill Davies when she suffered a major stroke in November 2018.
“My mum was only 67 when she had her stroke, and it was such a shock,” Naomi said.
“When we arrived at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, we were told that sadly she would be unlikely to recover from it.
“She was taken to critical care and all the staff there were just so amazing. It is such an incredible skill to be able to balance the care for the patient as well as the family going through such an ordeal.”
Gill was on the organ donor register and staff supported the family through this process too.
“We know that five people have been given sight thanks to my mum,” Naomi added.
“She was a graphic designer and artist, and she would have been so happy to know she had been able to help others in this way.
“I found out I was pregnant just three months after mum died. My mum never got to see Connie, but her picture is up in the house and I talk about her all the time.
“It will be lovely to take part in the walk in her memory and to give something back to all those who helped my mum and us during that time.
“Connie is really looking forward to it and knowing her, she will be jumping most of the way round.
“It would have been my mum’s birthday on May 7, so it felt a good way to mark it.”
A team of student nurses will also be taking part in Walk for Wards raising money for the charity’s Gamma Scanner Appeal.
The appeal is now more than halfway to its £600,000 target to provide new CT Gamma imaging technology that will help thousands of patients every year, from people with cancer to babies to patients with neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s.
Student Nurse Chloe Fletcher said: “We always wanted to do something for the charity and this event is very inclusive and not too physical so we can all take part together as a team.
“We want to support the CT Gamma Scanner Appeal because you never know when ourselves, a friend or family member may need this equipment. It is a worthy cause and an investment for the future.”
Walk for Wards is free to enter and each participant receives a medal at the finish line. If you cannot make the event in person, you can also take part virtually.
Community development manager, Liz Ray, said: “We are so excited that this is the year we will be able to return to Cirencester Park and help celebrate everything our local NHS has done for the Gloucestershire community and beyond.
“We would like to say a huge thank you to anyone who chooses to sign up and fundraise for our local hospitals.
“Your support means we can help fund projects over and above what the NHS can provide and help make a real difference for patients, visitors and the staff who treat them at our hospitals.
“We’d also like to thank Lord Bathurst for kindly welcoming us again into their beautiful grounds.”
To sign up, visit gloshospitals.nhs.uk/charity