At just 18, Sophie Adams lost her father to an aggressive form of cancer while he was in the care of Waipuna Hospice. Two years on, and Sophie has decided to give back to Waipuna Hospice by organising a running fundraiser.
Sophie’s dad, Richard (Rich) Adams was diagnosed with an aggressive form of esophageal cancer in October 2019. After originally being admitted to the hospital for a suspected heart attack, the diagnosis was a shock for the family.
“When dad was first diagnosed, we all went into a bit of a shock period. None of us saw it coming.”
“It’s one of those things you watch other people go through on TV, but you never think it will be you. You never think it will be your dad who gets cancer until it is.”
With no treatment available, Rich was referred to Waipuna Hospice immediately, and by December, his health was declining rapidly.
“When dad started to get really sick Waipuna Hospice nurses were at our house every day, supporting not only dad but our whole family.”
“The nurses would come and help us change him and care for him. They taught us how to care for him if they weren’t there, and they would answer our phone calls no matter the time of day, patiently answering our questions. So even when they weren’t there, we knew they were only a phone call away”.
After three months of in-home care, Rich passed away surrounded by his loving family. But the care didn’t stop there.
“After dad died Waipuna Hospice continued to care for us. Mum was getting massages and we were all going to counselling out in Te Puna. It was such a beautiful experience; Waipuna Hospice is such a calming place. I was coming in for one on one counselling sessions, as well as group counselling with mum and my brother. Their care even carried on through lockdown with phone calls.”
“I still have my counsellor’s number so when the grief wave comes through again I know I can always reach out to Waipuna Hospice and they will be there”.
After experiencing Waipuna Hospice’s care first hand, Sophie has decided to give back by turning her first ever half marathon into a fundraiser.
“I started running in lockdown and decided to challenge myself with a half marathon. Inspired by a family friend doing something similar, I decided to run in honour of dad and turn it into a fundraiser.”
“Although it was originally lockdown inspired, I am doing this for dad and I am doing it for Waipuna Hospice”.
“The training has been gruelling and I know it’s going to be mentally and physically challenging, but it’s all worth it. Over 80 people have donated to my fundraising page and helped me raise almost $4,000, which means I am really close to my $5,000 goal. It’s incredible”.
After going on this journey, Sophie understands the importance of living life to the fullest.
“If I have learnt anything from this experience, it’s that you can’t take life for granted. Nobody knows what the next day holds and what life will throw at you, so make the most of it while you can. It’s also really important to support organisations like Waipuna Hospice, because although you might be like me and think it will never happen to you, death is a huge part of life, and one day your situation may change and you may need them. Support them now so that if the tables do turn they will still be there to help you and your family get through”.
We would like to thank Sophie for sharing her story and for her support.
To donate to Sophie’s fundraiser please visit givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/sophies-journey-to-21km.
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