Jackie’s brave journey to help local cancer patients

Joseph Bulmer

Friends join forces to complete Exeter to Barnstaple hospital bed push for the chemo appeal

THE journey from Exeter to Barnstaple represents part of a regular lifesaving trip for some.

But thanks to fund-raisers taking part in a charity bed push, walk and jog on Sunday, the long drive could become a thing of the past for thousands of cancer patients in North Devon.

Around 50 people took part in the mammoth 44-mile hike from the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital in Exeter, to North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple, in aid of the North Devon Chemotherapy Appeal.

The event was organised by cancer patient Jackie Robinson (nee Kidby), who said she wanted to thank hospital staff for the care, support and help they have given her and her family over the past months.

The 57-year-old Chawleigh mum-of-one was diagnosed with cancer in May and has undergone sessions of chemotherapy in Exeter and Barnstaple.

The event, dubbed “Jackie’s Journey”, is already well on the way to raising �5,000 for the appeal.

Setting off from Exeter at 8am, Jackie and friends ran, walked and pushed their way for an 11 exhausting hours on what turned out to be one of the hottest October days on record.

Due to restrictions, participants were unable to push the hospital bed along much of the A377, but were able to finish the challenge in style by completing the push through the streets of Barnstaple, arriving at the hospital at around 7pm.

Co-organiser Bridget Rendall, from Chulmleigh, said more and more people joined in with the push as they neared Barnstaple.

“Thank you so much to everyone involved in this massive challenge, which was organised in just four weeks,” she said.

“I’m so chuffed it went so well; there are so many people to thank.”

The money raised will go towards Northern Devon Healthcare Trust Charitable Fund’s appeal to replace the outdated and cramped facilities with a brand new stand-alone chemotherapy unit alongside the main hospital building.

It is hoped the �2.2million campaign will make a difference to the lives of thousands of local cancer patients, some of whom have to travel to Exeter for treatment.

Chemotherapy Appeal fund-raising manger Ian Roome said: “It is really touching that Jackie and her friends have gone to such lengths to organise this fantastic event for the chemotherapy appeal.

“As someone who has used the chemotherapy services Jackie knows just how important this appeal is and the benefits a new unit would have for people in North Devon.

“I’d like to thank all those who gave their time to take part in this phenomenal event.”

Readers can still pledge a secure on-line donation by visiting the Just Giving page www.justgiving.com/JackiesJourney or texting JAKE57 followed by the amount to 70070.