Hope House Children’s Hospices have launched a brand new event, “The Glow in the Dark” 4K Fun Run on Saturday 19th October at Chirk Castle. The event is open to all ages and the plan is to have fun whilst lighting up the castle grounds and raising monies to support local children and their families.

All participants will be given a glow stick and will receive a glow in the dark medal and goody bag when they cross the finish line.  Participants must bring a torch or head torch.  The route will be marked with glow sticks, marshalled by volunteers and there is a 2k option for weary legs. The event has run successfully in Telford Town Park for the last 4 years and is the brainchild of Chris Richards. Dark Run Telford has raised more than £40,000 over the past 4 years for Hope House Children’s Hospices and as such the fundraising team are excited to see what Chirk Castle Dark Run will raise the weekend before Dark Run Telford.

Thanks to incredible support from local businesses including LeverCliff, Brynmor Foods, Kronospan, Jac Cassidy from Clubbercise, Med Aid and ORB Sound and Lighting, every penny raised from this event will help Hope House ensure that no family suffers the death of a child alone.

Hope House fundraiser Cat Dowdeswell is pleased to have the official race starter lined up, in the shape of 10-year-old Liam Parry from Chirk. “Liam’s sister Mia was been a huge part of Hope House over the past 4 years and we are thrilled that Liam has agreed to start the race in her memory and that the rest of the family will be on hand to hand out the medals. It’s so important that people understand how important Hope House is to families like Mia’s”. Cat continues, “Chirk Castle is the perfect location for this event and we know runners will find the setting a stunning backdrop to the 4k run. The team at Chirk Castle have been so helpful in helping us build this event and we cannot wait”.

Mia’s Mum Martine had this to say about Mia and her time at the hospice. “Mia absolutely loved Hope House, they felt like family. The nurses knew Mia was poorly, and how to care for her, but they still made things fun. It was all about giving her a good life and finding a way to do the things we wanted, such as riding a rocking horse. They would never say something was impossible.”

Mia was just four years old when she died. She was Martine’s fourth child – a longed-for girl who was sister to three older brothers Liam, Caiden and Kyle. After she was diagnosed with hydrocephalus and spina bifida Hope House’s Neontal nurse Karen attended appointments with Martine and stood by her side providing advice and guidance when needed.

For the next three years Mia spent quite a lot of time in and out of hospital. The Hope House team was there to help support the family, spending time in hospital when Martine was with the boys so that Mia had a familiar face on hand and the Sibling Support team helped the boys come to terms with their sister’s illness.

Last October Mia’s health took a turn for the worse and Martine began to discuss end-of-life care with the hospital.

“I’d said from day one that she wasn’t dying in a hospital or at home. I chose Hope House because we knew everyone and I knew they would look after us all. There was nowhere else I wanted to be,” says Martine.

Mia died in November last year. Martine ensured the funeral was a real celebration of her bubbly daughter’s life, with smiles and party songs. A sad day but a good day.

Since Mia’s death, the boys continue to be supported by Mary and the Sibling Support team and Martine has also started counselling at Hope House.

Martine is quite clear about the impact the hospice has had on her family, “I dread to think what it would have been like if Hope House wasn’t there.”

For families like Mia’s, the services Hope House provides is an absolute essential. Cat Dowdeswell finished by explaining that, “Every week, three local families face their worst fear and their child dies. We can currently only support one of these families but we are committed to changing this. We must be there for every Mum, Dad, brother and sister who needs us and events like the Chirk Castle Dark Run are essential in helping us reach the £6.3 million we have to raise every year.”

Any businesses interested in supporting the event with a financial donation can get in touch with Cat Dowdeswell on 01691 671671.

Adult entry is £13 and children £7.  All participants are asked to raise a minimum of £10 for Hope House.  You can book your place for Chirk here: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/chirk-castle-dark-run-4k-2019-tickets-57724525610. There is also the opportunity to run both Dark Runs for a discounted entry or run one race and volunteer at the other. Details are within the website.

An amazing team of volunteers are needed to help out on the night, if you would like to offer your services please contact catrin.dowdeswell@hopehouse.org.uk