Nicholas Leloup climbs the highest heights
Nicholas Leloup likes a challenge. Back in June he trekked the intrepid Breacon Beacons in under 27 hours. Now Nicholas faces climbing the highest peak in Europe at 4810m, Mont Blanc. Not one to shy away from a challenge, in 2014 Nicholas spent four days trekking across the Sahara desert with 14 other hospice supporters. In 2009 he walked 70 miles in seven days in the Indian Himalayas all in support of North London Hospice.
Nicholas tell us what spurs him to keep taking on these enduring challenges.
“The common misconception is that a hospice is a place to go for patients to spend their final days. However, it is much more than this and plays a far more important and wide reaching role – it provides a life, happiness and hope for those who may be struggling to find any, regardless of their prognosis.
During her remarkable battle with cancer which stretched over twelve years, my Mum had two stints in the North London Hospice, one in 2009 and then a longer, three week stay in 2011. Being entirely bedbound by that point, the purpose of her stay was to provide the necessary pain relief to control some of the most intense and acute cancerous pain one could experience. This is a major role of the hospice – to provide comfort. To quote one patient, “pain takes away yourself; relief brings you back.” It provides comfort, not just in the medical sense, but with a fantastic team of nurses, doctors and volunteers, it provides the emotional support that makes illness at least a degree more bearable. But the Hospice’s role extends further still. Unlike the vast majority of patients, she had the relative fortune of being able to be transferred home, where she spent the next eight months. The medical community team from the NLH provided the constant invaluable medical care to her and support to the family, which enabled her to remain there. This is so important and it made me appreciate how the services that the Hospice provides extend beyond its walls to a community level, and is why I volunteer there.
Having opened in 1984, as the UK’s first purpose built multi-faith hospice with eighteen rooms, the NLH cares for over 1500 patients a year. Including the Day Centre, it requires over £9million in order to provide the wonderful services that it does. Around a quarter of this comes from the government; the rest is from the generosity of the public. I am therefore looking to raise as much money as possible, as ultimately anyone of us may need to rely on the Hospice’s services in the future.”