The Ultimate Military Obstacle Course
St John’s Hospice Fundraiser Karen Crossley tells us more
Last year I was approached by fitness formation owner Ryan Donohue, who had a vision to bring together our local community for one cause, St John’s Hospice. Ryan told me “Many different events are used for fundraising, but an OCR had never been done on that scale before. An event such as Born Survivor was a real challenge for the people that we were coaching; it is hard, wet, cold, strenuous and outright terrifying for most. With it being way out of most people’s comfort zones, they raised more money for the hospice”.
The hospice had never had any involvement with anything like this before and I was a little bit scared of it myself, I’m a five foot nothing, forty something year old fundraiser with a fear of heights, water and being cold, how on earth was I going to persuade our supporters to sign up? I should never have doubted our supporters’ commitment to raising money for us! It soon became apparent that our little hospice has a very special place in the hearts of many of the families from our local community. So then started the behind the scenes work, six months in planning and tentatively watching the registration figures go up!
Our team was made up of people from all walks of life and fitness levels but all with one connection, St John’s Hospice. We had a 69 year old who hadn’t exercised for years either but his motivation was his brother who had died in the hospice 5 months previously. There were groups of people doing it in memory of mums, dads and so many loved ones. All of them had experienced the excellent care, support and commitment given by St John’s staff through the most devastating of times and they wanted to repay in what way they could.
“1, 2, 3, teamwork. 4, 5, 6, together!” This was the mantra from the boot camp training sessions, which so many of us attended each week. Friendships were created, stories were swapped and lives entwined. Everyone was made to feel welcome and there was an inclusive feel to the sessions; no man (or woman!) was left behind as we worked together as a team. Ryan & Dan from fitness formation ensured that we were all well aware of what lay ahead and helped us to stay safe on the day.
Finally we were ready! Last April a team of 300 Fitness Formation Born Heroes descended upon Lowther Castle. At 11.30 a sea of blue shirts entered the “start cage”. The atmosphere was electric with an energising, hugely motivational and emotional speech, about which saw many of us realise the enormity of what we were about to attempt. Many a tear was shed as the majority of our team players were doing the course in memory of loved ones, who had sadly passed away, but we certainly had tears of joy and felt a massive sense of achievement once we were standing on the finish podium, having conquered a lot of fears and a few river crossings!
St John’s hospice has touched so many people’s lives within our community and this definitely shows in the £67,000 that these brilliant individuals raised. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that we would be able to raise this amount of money but for 30 years the doors to St John’s have never closed – day or night. We have provided hands-on nursing care for local people facing the most challenging time of their lives, we have supported their families and friends and we have walked alongside them during their bereavement journey for as long as they have needed us.
However, we could not have done it without the amazing support from the community. We still receive only one third of our funding from statutory sources so we still rely on people to help us to provide support, care and hope for people in our community when they need it most; and remember we are a truly LOCAL charity, every penny raised here, is spent here.
So a huge thank you goes out from me, all the team and the patients from St John’s hospice to each and every one of you who took part, sponsored team members, helped on the day and organised it.
To end, if you don’t believe me about how much of an impact St John’s Hospice has on the families of those who stay with us, here are just a few quotes from some of our Heroes who took part on the day.
Jessie said “I experienced the work that St John’s does, when I lost a loved one a little over a year ago. It was a dark time for my family but the incredible support by the Hospice inspired me to raise money for them in memory of someone I’d loved a great deal.”
Jo said “I cannot thank my friends enough for everything they have done in memory of my beautiful and inspirational Mum (Munchkin) they have helped our family get through a devastating time with their support and commitment. The biggest achievement in Born Survivor was getting up the Blitz through team work, motivation and sheer grit and determination we did it!”
Kerry said “I would say to anyone, I am 45 – no spring chicken but it was the best experience of my life doing something to raise so much money for my local charity, making memories for those we’ve lost. We all think she was with us on the day, making the sun shine. If you think you can’t do it – you can! It’s so worth it!”
Kenny said “The Fitness Formation group was one of the best to get me ready for Born Survivor and I will be doing it again this year. I got to know a lot of other people and one of the great things was that everybody helped each other, teamwork at its best”
Now bring on the next one! Sign up now and join the Fitness Formation Born Heroes team to help make a difference to St John’s Hospice and have a fantastic time doing it too!
To find out more about the great work St John’s Hospice undertakes, you can visit their website.