22 April 2024

Couple walking 10k at Walk for Wards to thank hospital staff

A Salisbury couple want to raise “as much as they can” for Salisbury Hospital’s Pembroke Cancer Unit who have been supporting them through a “difficult time”.

Stephen Burke’s fiancée Vicky Schrader was diagnosed with terminal cancer and is currently being treated at Salisbury Hospital’s Pembroke Suite.

They are taking part in the Stars Appeal’s Walk for Wards on Sunday, July 9th at Wilton House, and will be doing the 10k route.

Stephen said: “The staff have all been so great at helping us get through this difficult time. We signed up for Walk for Wards as we felt we wanted to give something back to Salisbury Hospital, specifically the Pembroke Suite, as a thank you for all the help and support they have given my fiancée and myself, and the tireless work they do there for so many people.”

Vicky was diagnosed with bowel cancer in October 2022, which had spread to her lungs. After three months of chemotherapy, Stephen, 41, says that Vicky’s cancer had “progressed quite rapidly” but she went onto a new chemo regime, which is “working better for her”.

“When we were told the diagnosis and prognosis, it was a massive shock and we went through all the things I would imagine everybody goes through in the first few weeks. Why Vicky, it’s so unfair. Now we are just trying to enjoy every day and look forward to making as many memories as we can while fighting the cancer. It’s still very difficult, sometimes out of nowhere, thoughts pop into your head but you have to just carry on. The Pembroke Unit has been a great help with that, especially for Vicky,” added Stephen.

Donations to the Stars Appeal go towards projects supporting cancer patients which include free drinks for chemotherapy and oncology patients, aromatherapy, free headwear for patients who lose their hair, along with dedicated swimming sessions in the Hospital’s pool and wellbeing programmes.

The hospital’s charity also fund enhancements to the Pembroke Unit’s furnishings and décor, as well as the provision additional medical equipment.

Vicky, 47, has benefitted from the free aromatherapy service and refreshments when she’s been having her chemotherapy treatment at the Hospital.

“I found the aromatherapy so soothing and relaxing. It was just so wonderful to have something like that available,” she explains.

“It is great to know that if I need a hot or cold drinks, it is always available. It takes a load off my mind as I never remember to take any drinks with me and it can be quite a long day having chemo.”

Stephen added: “We feel really good and hopeful about raising money. Obviously, we want to raise as much as we can, but every bit helps as they say, and we are glad to be part of something bigger. There are so many people in the same situation as we are too and I think people forget that everybody is going through something.”

It is free to sign up for Walk for Wards. Those wishing to take part need to register by Sunday, July 2nd. Go to https://starsappeal.org/events/sign-up-for-walk-for-wards/ to register

Written by
Niamh Cunningham
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Written by Niamh Cunningham