Rudi Colder, 10, has raised over £200 for John Taylor Hospice in memory of his grandfather Ron Colder who was cared for at home and in the hospice’s Inpatient Unit.
And the Wolverhampton youngster’s lengthy locks of hair will also be supporting another great cause – by helping to provide a real hair wig for a young person going through cancer treatment.
“I started growing my hair in May 2019 but I wasn’t thinking about growing it for any reason, Mum likes me with long hair,” explained Rudi. “I was going to have it cut for the summer but then lockdown happened so I couldn’t. I decided to grow it for charity because Mum did the same thing and I thought it would be a good idea.”
Rudi was incredibly close to his grandfather Ron, who he affectionately called ‘Grand’, and has precious memories of their strong bond and fun adventures together. And now Rudi has a special way to make sure his grandfather can continue to go exploring with him – by carrying a small pot of Grand’s ashes in his pocket when he visits new places. “Grand comes with me everywhere,” added Rudi. “I take him with me to show him where we have been in case he didn’t get to go there before.
“Grand was like my best friend, the best friend I never knew I had. Grand liked cars and we watched the TV together every single night. I remember when he used to teach me stuff and he was actually quite good. We would do lots of jobs together. Grand was good at drawing and he would show me how to draw planes and cars and birds. I remember when we lost him on holiday in Cornwall and we thought the waves got him and then his head popped round the corner. I remember when we went fishing together and caught nothing and that was funny!”
Hayley Colder, Rudi’s mum and daughter to Ron, said the family are ‘extremely proud’ of Rudi’s act of kindness and explains why the hospice is very close to their heart. “Rudi is a very giving kid,” said Hayley. “He gave his pocket money to John Taylor Hospice at my dad’s funeral and he also gives it at Light up a Life, which we have attended since Dad’s passing.
“Dad had already had a two-year battle with cancer, which we were all so proud of him to have got through, so it was a great shock to find out it had returned in two other places to start with. Dad was very reluctant at the first visit from the hospice nurse and I think it was more about struggling to accept what was happening to him. Clinical Nurse Specialist Karen Vernalls supported him and she persevered and got to know Dad. She helped him in more ways than I think we all realised at the time as Dad wasn’t much of a talker and getting him to address things and do things could be difficult.”
As well as receiving support from hospice nurses in his time of need, Ron had the constant companionship of his best friend Rudi, who stayed by his side to support him and make him smile.
“Rudi had such a close relationship with my dad,” explained Hayley. “We lived with my mum and dad for support as I was the only person he would do anything for and with so many hospital appointments and taking medication it was easier to be there full time. Dad moved into a bedroom on his own as he was on a lot of machines and medication during his cancer battle and Rudi would drag his mattress into the room and sleep on the floor next to him and eventually moved into the room with him.
“Rudi went to all appointments he was able to attend and ask the questions he needed to ask. The doctors were amazing taking the time to show him things and talk him through what was happening to Grand. All of this started when Rudi was only five years old. Rudi is home educated and he would sit next to Grand on the arm of the chair doing his school work. Rudi needed Dad and Dad needed Rudi to keep him fighting – and he did that till his final day.
“Dad went into the hospice on Thursday 18 October 2018. He fell asleep that night and didn’t wake up again but he continued fighting right through to the following Wednesday. The nurses were there not just for Dad but also for us as a family. We didn’t leave the hospice during that week and the nurses would be on hand at any point to help reassure and comfort. They would come to every call. They listened to us as we knew Dad and what he wanted and needed, and they didn’t question anything. They kept his dignity throughout and he was never in pain. Even at the funeral Karen attended and gave support to our family and Rudi. We’re incredibly grateful to the amazing team of people at John Taylor Hospice and they will always hold a very special place in our hearts.”
Kerry McGrath, Community Fundraising Manager at John Taylor Hospice, said: “We’re so proud of Rudi for being such a super hospice supporter by cutting off his long hair to raise money for our charity. It’s such a kind and thoughtful act and we would like Rudi to know that the money he’s raised will help more families through very difficult times and for that we’re tremendously grateful. Well done Rudi – we think you’re a star!”