I want to thank the hospice for all the help they’ve given me

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In a month’s time, Andy Turner, from Horsham, will be cycling from London to Paris to raise money for St Catherine’s Hospice. After an amazing transformation, losing 13 stone in just one year, keen skateboarder, Andy is cycling to thank St Catherine’s for the care the hospice’s Lymphoedema team gave him. Here he tells us more.

“I first became involved with St Catherine’s Hospice when I was referred to the Lymphoedema Clinic by my doctor. I weighed just under 29 stone and was struggling with some leg swelling after I’d broke my ankle skateboarding.

Like many people I thought St Catherine’s was a place where people came when they were at the very end of their life. But it’s so much more than that. And the Lymphoedema Clinic made a huge difference to me.

I didn’t know what to expect but the care was really good. The nurses gave me advice and went above and beyond to support me with personalised care. For example the compression stockings they recommended were made to measure. If they didn’t have them at the hospice when I was there, one of the nurses would put them through my letterbox when they arrived as she lived near me. I could always phone up for advice too and I felt like the team really cared about me.

During my time at the Lymphoedema Clinic I started Slimming World. I went to my first meeting in April 2015 and lost 13 stone in a year. I fell in love with Slimming World and its ethos and I’m now a consultant myself! It’s been quite a transformation.

When I first started coming to the hospice I was at my biggest. But I was losing weight the whole time I had appointments. The hospice nurses always noticed the difference as weight was dropping off me! Losing weight helped my Lymphoedema swelling too. And I can do so much more now.

As I lost weight I took up cycling. I enjoy it as it gives me time to think and I’ve discovered new places in an area I’ve lived all my life. When I was nearly 30 stone riding two miles to a local shop or walking was a challenge, but in 2017 I signed up to the London to Brighton ride and loved it! Then in 2018 I rode from London to Amsterdam as part of a team in memory of our friend who had a terminal brain tumour. We raised more than £2,000 and it got me thinking about raising money for the hospice. So I decided to sign up the London to Paris bike ride to raise money for St Catherine’s.

I want to thank the hospice for the help they’ve given me. Although it’s a shorter distance than my last ride, London to Paris is more challenging terrain. I don’t have any fears about it though. I’m excited and I can’t wait to get going!

It’s nice to support a local cause. I know people who’ve been touched by the hospice’s care and I also have friends who work and volunteer here. My Mum worked at St Catherine’s as Bank Staff many years ago too so I know how important the hospice is for our community.

Knowing that St Catherine’s can only care for one in three local people is horrible. The hospice shouldn’t be in a position where it has to say no to helping anyone who needs it. If the money I raise can help just a little bit, it’s worth it.

When I first started coming to the Lymphoedema Clinic at St Catherine’s I thought I’d have to come for the rest of my life. Now, my Lymphoedema’s under control and I’m cycling in challenges I’d only dreamed of!”

To support Andy in his London to Paris cycling challenge for St Catherine’s please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/andyturnerslimmingworld