Gary's match for Andrea
When Andrea Pitty passed away at the tender age of 33, her family needed something to focus on to help with their grief. Raising money for Saint Francis Hospice gave them the chance to do just that.
As well as running the London Marathon for us, Andrea's brother, Gary has organised an annual football match since 2014 with a family friend: James Chambers. This year's event was the most successful yet. Gary and his mates used to play for the Essex Minors of Hornchurch (EMH).
"We're all getting on a bit now," Gary explained.
Despite their legs not being what they once were, the EMH Old Boys managed to get through 90 minutes against AS Rawreth Veterans FC at the club's ground in Wickford.
Gary's colleagues, friends and family also played — including his dad, Terry.
"I was proud of him for pulling on the shirt at the age of 65," Gary revealed. "Everyone turns up to both help the Hospice and remember Andrea. I'm overwhelmed by the support year on year."
After a 2-2 draw went to penalties, the Rawreth Veterans came away with the trophy. A raffle, auction, and the spectators raised a fantastic £1,512.00 in the process.
Our Hospice supported Andrea during her four years of living with breast cancer, which later spread to her bones and brain. After some initial fear of coming to our Hospice, Andrea made new friends in our social hub: Pemberton Place.
She also received counselling from our Family Support team and enjoyed the benefits of reflexology and creative therapy classes. She made a pillow that Gary and his family treasure to this day.
"She was scared at first," recalled Andrea's mum, Sue.
"When she went to the Hospice and met other people in similar situations, she could open up," Terry added. "It was like the burden had been lifted, and she began to really look forward to her visits. For us to see her happy meant so much; Saint Francis Hospice is a special place."
"It was an extremely positive experience, which she got a lot from," Gary said. "The Hospice was a release for her. I know Andrea would be so proud to know that we're helping people who are experiencing the same as she did."
Gary admitted that 'Rawreth' has been engraved on the silverware more times than his team, but he hopes to get it back next year.
Thank you to Gary, his friends, and family for raising an incredible £14,944.00 for our Hospice and patients so far.
If you have a fundraising idea — no matter how small — then we'd love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01708 771431.
Gary Pitty and James Chambers with the trophy