I turned a corner during the Covid-19 pandemic and took part in ‘The 2.6 Challenge’
My Name is Tricia Rusling and I am 73 years old. I have had Rheumatoid Arthritis since I was 42. During the Covid-19 pandemic I have decided to take part in a Challenge to help Save the UK's Charities and I have chosen St Christopher's Hospice. The event was called ‘The 2.6 Challenge’.
My Mother-in-Law, Mollie Rusling had Motor Neurone Disease and was looked after at St Christopher's Hospice in Sydenham from August 1973 to December 1974. My Mother, Evelyn Butterfield, was helped to have a peaceful end of her life at home, too, provided by St. Christopher’s Homecare Team.
This is the letter I wrote when Mollie died. The copy was one of 21 letters chosen by Dame Cicely Saunders (the founder of the Hospice movement and St. Christopher’s) and subsequently published in 'St Christopher's in Celebration' when the Hospice was 21 years old. My letter explains why the Hospice is so wonderful.
I have been advised to stay ‘shielded’ for three months in my house at the beginning of the pandemic from 16/03/20 - 31/05/20. I can honestly say I was finding life hard, but on Monday 20th April it all changed. I lay in bed trying to think of how I could help a charity and to take part in ‘The 2.6 Challenge’, what was possible (without climbing stairs) in my own home. I marked my front path of the house with 4 bean tin cans as ‘my stadium’ and I was off. I have walked 26 laps of my front path, and started on the 26.3.20 and finished 02/06/20, because it is the second of the sixth month.
My loneliness and my worries and mental state had now found a truly worthwhile cause and purpose. Every time I did a lap I handed over the baton to ‘Just Giving’ and the organisation then passed the stick onto the next donor. It was so exciting and rewarding.
I fundraised £11,250 plus Gift Aid! for St Christopher’s Hospice. This extraordinary unexpected amount makes me truly smile, even under my face mask!
I am still ‘half locked down’ and feel reluctant to leave my house after 3 months, but now a tiny bit of air is coming into the building! The whole event took over a big part of my emotions and stopped me feeling down and worried about death because I was ‘vulnerable’. ‘Just Giving’ interviewed me recently as I was one who raised a top amount by a single person. People were very generous and St. Christopher’s touched a large number of people and families.
In summary: I have completed my 26 laps on my front path for St Christopher's Hospice because it helps people to live happily to the end of their lives.