So, a very belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Helping Hearts.
We’ve been rather quiet in recent months, and it is time we updated you on the sad news of the last few months, if you don’t already know.
The reason behind our year of adventure was to give something back to everyone at Southmead Hospital, to say thank you for the 20 years of care they gave Dom’s dad Dennis after his many heart attacks and cardiac problems.
Unfortunately, Dennis was dealt another blow in the summer when he was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus, and with all the will and determination in the world he was just not able to cope with this extra turmoil.
September was an incredibly demanding, tough, and emotionally exhausting month for Dom and his angelic mother Elf – they spent every minute caring for Dennis, selflessly giving their father and husband every ounce of love they could. Dennis made it to 80 on the 11th September, and we all had a very special celebratory drink with him that day.
However, with great sadness Dennis passed away at home on the evening of Monday 30th September surrounded by his family – he is now finally at peace. The irony is that, after all the years of heart trouble, his heart stayed strongest until the end, a real reflection of the strength of the hearts of the Harris family.
Grief is a real rollercoaster though. While the 30th September in many ways seems a long time ago already, often it feels just the opposite. Not surprisingly, going for a run just hasn’t been a priority lately, so we withdrew from the Athens marathon in November. Now all that fitness we built up throughout the year has disappeared, and we now have to start over from scratch again (although Cozzie does like her smaller calf muscles due to lack of use!)
On top of this, Cozzie’s mum was diagnosed with bowel cancer in October – talk about knock us when we’re down – but the prognosis is extremely positive and she is currently in the process of kicking cancer’s butt.
So while Helping Hearts has been on hold, it is not yet finished – we still have 4 events left to complete our extended year of challenges. Luckily the January issue of Outdoor Fitness arrived recently with myriad events to choose from for 2014, so stay tuned as we decide over the next month or so what our remaining challenges will be.
So we wanted to reiterate our thanks to everyone for their support throughout 2013 – the encouragement, support and good fun has really been appreciated, and it’s been great to complete some challenges with friends alongside us. And would you believe we’ve raised £5,000 for Southmead Hospital?! That is truly phenomenal, so thanks to everyone for your generosity. We know that many of you have already very kindly donated to our charity, but if anyone does want to add to the total over the coming months, our justgiving site will stay open until after our final challenge.
If there is anything that this last year has reminded us, it is that we should all treasure our family and friends as you never know what is around the corner.
We hope you’ve had a great Christmas, and here’s hoping for a happier and healthier 2014 for us all.
Cozzie and Dom x