“Shooting Star Chase cared for us as they always promised..” – take part in the Sunrise Walk and raise money to support bereaved families.

Leading children’s hospice charity, Shooting Star Chase, are encouraging local people to take part in the Sunrise Walk and help raise vital funds for families in London and Surrey who are coping with the devastating loss of a child.

The charity’s biggest event, now in its fifth year, takes place on Sunday 4 June when walkers will set off from Ham House in Richmond at 4.30am. The event has two routes to choose from – a family-friendly 10km or a more advanced 20km – which cover the area’s most stunning sights at dawn, including Richmond Park, Richmond Hill, The Thames, Ham Common, Bushy Park and Hampton Court Palace.

Shooting Star Chase hope to raise £60,000 in order to continue providing a lifeline for bereaved families, with practical and emotional support such as a dedicated area at each hospice where a child can lay at rest after their death, and flats on-site where families can stay to be looked after while they say goodbye in a familiar and supportive environment.

Other bereavement care includes counselling for mums and dads, play therapy for siblings, support groups for grieving parents and annual memory days for the whole family. 

Participants at the Sunrise Walk have the opportunity to hang a free lantern on a Celebration Tree to light the start line of the walk, and can celebrate their achievements at a post-walk picnic - where they’ll receive a commemorative medal, get a free hot breakfast, and enjoy activities and entertainment. All participants are also able to explore the gardens at Ham House free of charge after the walk. 

Stephanie Nimmo and her family (husband, Andy and four children Theo, Xanthe, Jules and Daisy) have been cared for by Shooting Star Chase with services including short breaks, counselling and Hospice at Home since her youngest child, Daisy, was diagnosed with rare genetic disorder, Costello syndrome, as a baby.

Sadly, in January 2017 Daisy died after bravely batting her condition for 12 years – just 13 months after the family lost Andy, Stephanie’s husband and the children’s father, to cancer. Stephanie, who lives in Wimbledon with her three eldest children, said about Shooting Star Chase’s bereavement care:
“Shooting Star Chase cared for Daisy for all of her life, and the hospices are where Daisy went for sleepovers, where she loved to play and have fun, and where she could just be a little girl, and in the early days where we enjoyed weekends as a family. But they didn’t just care for Daisy – they gave her siblings, and me and my husband, practical and emotional support too, and lots of very happy memories.
“When Daisy passed away earlier this year, Shooting Star Chase cared for us as they always promised – Daisy laid in rest at their Hampton-based hospice, Shooting Star House, and we stayed in the family flats so they could support us through our grief and the practicalities of arranging Daisy’s funeral. We will always be grateful for everything Shooting Star Chase do for us and they will always be part of our story when we remember Daisy.”

Kate Law, Challenge Events Fundraiser at Shooting Star Chase, organises the Sunrise Walk and said:
“The Sunrise Walk is a really popular event where friends and family can come together and experience a truly picturesque walk as the sun comes up. This year we’ve added a celebration picnic where walkers can enjoy a well-earned rest and a hot breakfast while taking in the beautiful surroundings of Ham House. 
“Shooting Star Chase’s care doesn’t stop when a child dies and the Sunrise Walk raises vital funds to ensure families like Stephanie’s get the support they need. We provide a range of bereavement services for parents and siblings, and for as long as they need, which is so important when you’re coping with the unimaginable and often have nowhere to turn.”

Entry fees are £5 for a child and £20 or £25 for an adult, depending on the chosen route, and participants can receive 20% off by using the discount code SSC before the end of May.

To find out more about Shooting Star Chase’s Sunrise Walk and to sign up visit shootingstarchase.org.uk/sunrisewalk or contact via email on events@shootingstarchase.org.uk or call 01932 823100.
Article supplied by Becky Medhurst