Katy, who last took part in Cycle4Cynthia in 2014 rediscovered her love of cycling during lockdown so kindly agreed to share her memories of the ride and her dear friend Andrea who was a patient at the hospice.
Katy, on the left with her friend Andrea who were both pregnant at the same time
"Andrea was sadly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2014 aged 40 and was admitted to the hospice where she spent six weeks of her nine weeks since diagnosis. During this period a friend lent me a bike and invited me to join their team and ride in Cycle4Cynthia, so of course I accepted. I went full on for the 25 miles!! Big ask as I had only given birth 18 months previously but I wanted to challenge myself."
"I set up a Justgiving page to raise money for the hospice and Andrea knew all about my efforts and fully supported me, as did her family. Sadly she passed away just two days before the event took place. This was a huge knock for me and I contemplated not doing the ride, but I knew Andrea would have told me to get on with it!! During the event there were moments of tears, particularly at the start where I felt all our emotions were high and low for various reasons particularly as we remember why we are doing the event."
Andrea and her daughter Erin spending time together in the hospice
"Only 18 months before her diagnosis, Andrea and I had both given birth to our first born daughters. We shared the highs and lows of pregnancy together and supported each other along the way. Then we were able to share many many happy times together with the girls as they grew into friends also. Some of the most special memories for me and my daughter were spent with Andrea and her daughter in those first few months. Sadly Andrea hasn’t been able to see her daughter grow up as she passed away before the little lady was two years old but I know she left her daughter and husband together with strict instructions as to how she hoped their lives would pan out."
Andrea and Katy's daughters meeting the Frozen princesses
Katy continued: "On Cycle4Cynthia day the sun shone and the streets were lined with well-wishers all the way! At roughly 20 miles my muscle fatigue was high and my chest was tired and I wondered what I was doing while riders were overtaking me rapidly. I thought 'Can I go on? Will I finish?' Then the most special moment happened..tears were rolling down my face as I faced the final push to finish the ride. I genuinely felt the warmth of a firm hand on my back saying ‘You Can Do This’. I knew it was Andrea. I focused on the fact that she wouldn’t ever get to even do Cycle4Cynthia again and yet here I was thinking of quitting five miles to go. She knew I could finish and she helped me do it. I was so emotional at the end of the race that I do not recall my time but who cares! I did it for Andrea."
Katy and her family lived for many years just around the corner from the hospice on Manderville Close so the hospice has always meant a lot to them. In fact when her and her husband got married they asked for donations to the hospice instead of wedding presents and were able to donate a fantastic £2,500!
She continued: "We have experienced the love and care provided by Cynthia Spencer on a number of occasions with three different family members and friends over the years. Not only do the patients feel cared for and loved but the wider families also experience the same warmth from the very, very special staff. Hopefully many people won’t need to use the wonderful inpatient unit at Cynthia Spencer hospice and until you need to you may not understand how hard they work and how much they rely on donations to provide such a wonderful service. I will always support the hospice and do my bit to keep them doing their bit, for all those difficult dark last moments experienced there, the staff making it bearable and pleasant. Thank you Cynthia Spencer Hospice for all that you continue to do for our family and friends, from our family and Andrea’s family too."