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#WhyIWalk for the RUH – Kerri’s story

Kerri Gardner from Wiltshire is taking part in The Forever Friends Appeal’s flagship sponsored walk, the Walk of Life in September to say thank you to the Intensive Care Unit for caring for her father in 2016.

A manager for a care company and an advocate for raising awareness around Bowel Cancer, Kerri shared her #WhyIWalk reasons:

“My dad was admitted to the intensive care unit at RUH in November 2016. He was a very proud man and despite pleas from the family he would not visit the doctor. My dad was losing weight and was unwell for about a year before he was taken by ambulance to the RUH.

I am a manager for a care company and have been in the industry for about 20 years, so I had a fair idea of what my dad was suffering from. My fears were confirmed when he was diagnosed with bowl cancer/ sepsis and after having an operation to have a stoma bag he had a heart attack and sadly passed away on 11th December.

The support the ICU gave my dad and my family was absolutely amazing and we will never be able to thank them enough. They allowed us to stay by my dad’s side and the very minimal time we did leave him they accepted our calls, passed on messages and generally cared. The staff there did everything they could to keep my dad comfortable and to treat his illness and I will never forget the compassion and understanding they showed him when he was clearly scared.

I want to raise as much awareness of bowel cancer and the importance of going to the doctor or hospital if you are concerned about your health. I do believe if my dad was not so embarrassed to discuss the lump he found and its location he may still be here.

Every Christmas now, I have explained to my friends and family I will not be sending cards and I donate to the RUH instead.  The attached photo is of myself and my dad on our last Christmas together.

Personally I don’t do a lot of walking so the Walk of Life I am doing is going to be a challenge for me, but not as big as the challenge the staff at the RUH face daily. Every little helps and I urge anyone no matter how big or small support the RUH where possible as you never know when you may need their support.”

Kerri will be walking 10 miles along the Kennet & Avon Canal on the 18 September as part of the Walk of Life. Kerri has already raised £160 for the Royal United Hospitals Bath – you can make a donation to her fundraising here.

If you’d like to join Kerri and others making a difference for the hospital with every step, you can sign up to the 26.2 mile or 10 mile walking routes at the Walk of Life here.

Do you have a reason for #WhyIWalk? Get in touch to let us know at ruh-tr.fundraising@nhs.net.