A family who have been given vital help to care for their seriously ill little girl will be joining the Midnight Walk in Aylesbury once again.
Kelly Stallwood’s daughter Zara, 4, has a life-limiting genetic disease called Noonan Syndrome and during the first two years of her life she underwent eight operations, including open heart surgery, and has spent a lot of time in hospital.
Zara has a twin brother, Tyler, a brother, Josh, 15, and sister Emily, 13, who will be doing the 13-mile Midnight Walk on Saturday, July 9, with her mum to raise money for Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity.
Kelly and her family have been helped by the hospice’s children’s team for most of Zara’s life.
Kelly said: “We have no family locally and no support network. The Florrie’s children’s team have been able to support the whole family and give us respite so we can have a break.
“Our Florrie’s nurse, Angie, has become part of our family and we have a lovely relationship with her. Florrie’s and Florence Nightingale Hospice has given us back a part of us that got lost for a while when Zara was ill. We never had any break from caring for Zara until Angie started to visit. It really relieved the pressure.
“Angie has even come over in the evening, and these are the first times we’ve been able to do couple things like go out for dinner. Having a child with additional needs is life-changing and impacts the whole family.”
The children’s team is wholly funded by the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity, so some of the money raised by the Midnight Walk goes to support this service, which is why Kelly and her family and friends have done the walk for the last four years.
“We also have a team of supporters and we are walking together under the team name ‘Zara’s Walkers’. This year we’ve got about eight or ten of us. It’s grown every year.
“Some people find the thought of walking 13 miles quite daunting but actually when you’re in a group and having fun it flies by. My son and I did it in three and a half hours when he did it at the age of 13, the year they let males do it as well. It’s brilliant. It’s very lively. Everyone’s motivated and excited. You wouldn’t know it’s midnight!
“For me as a mum, for us, it’s a way of giving something back, it’s constructively doing something. We never needed that kind of help before we had the twins and we didn’t know how to handle it. So for us to do the walk it enables us to show how grateful we are for the help we’ve had from Angie.”
Registration for the Midnight Walk costs £18pp which includes the souvenir Midnight Walk 2016 t-shirt, medal on completion of the walk, and a hot drink and light breakfast at Aylesbury College at the finish. For more information and to sign up for the Midnight Walk go to www.gemstonewalk.co.uk or find out more about Florence Nightingale Hospice at www.fnhospice.org.uk