Shirley, aged 51, braved the Ironman 70.3 in Switzerland in June to raise money for John Taylor Hospice after our Hospice at Home Team cared for Gerry Gorman in December 2014 and January 2015.
“Cancer took my dad not long after his 70th birthday,” she says. “He didn’t want to be in hospital or a hospice and so the Hospice at Home Team came to see him each day in his last few weeks.
“They gave him the chance to be with his family which was all he wanted. They are a wonderful group of people – they really care for the people they look after.”
Five years later, to mark what would have been her dad’s 75th birthday, Shirley, who grew up in Birmingham but now lives in Switzerland, took on the ultimate challenge. The Ironman 70.3 event in Rapperswil-Jona saw her completing a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile run – all in one day.
“It was the hardest thing I had ever attempted,” says Shirley. “I had absolutely no idea if I could do it but whenever I was unsure of things Dad would tell me I could always do whatever I set my mind to. He used to say ‘you’re big enough and ugly enough to do it yourself’ and that is what drove me on.”
Through cold water, countless hills and the heat of a Swiss summer, Shirley was undaunted – and crossed that finish line in eight hours.
And all her effort has seen her reach an incredible fundraising total of £6,500 which includes £3,029.55 of match-funding from her employer Zurich Insurance Group.
“I am so happy to have raised this money and to give other people a chance to be at home with their family, when they have little hope left,” says Shirley. “Any effort I put into training or the race itself was insignificant next to the pain and suffering people have every day in the fight against cancer or other life-threatening diseases.”
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