A Pendle woman who created a 40-mile heart-shaped walk around stunning Lancashire and Yorkshire countryside is encouraging people to take the time to walk, remember and heal this Valentine’s Day.
Sophie Waiting lost her sister-in-law Victoria ‘Vic’ Waiting to an aggressive form of cancer – glioblastoma multiforme grade four brain tumour – in 2016.
Vic was only 44 when she passed away at Pendleside Hospice and ever since, Sophie has been fundraising extensively to give something back to the hospice and remember her sister-in-law.
To kick things off, keen walker Sophie created the Love Heart Walk – a 40-mile stretch across Lancashire and Yorkshire in the shape of a love heart which can be completed over several days.
She said: “I designed the walk in the shape of a love heart to help Vic be remembered while also thanking the hospice. It’s about taking time out to reflect on the enormity of losing someone you love and I feel Valentine’s weekend is the perfect opportunity to do that.
“While I want the walk to be in Vic’s memory, it’s also there for anyone to put their name to it. It takes in the most beautiful countryside and by the time you finish the full love heart, you’re partly healed.”
Sophie and Vic’s mum Christine were so impressed and thankful for how Pendleside cared for Vic they’ve both volunteered at the hospice and set themselves a target to raise £100,000, collecting close to £25,000 already.
“They kept Vic safe until she died seven weeks later. It was devastating,” said Sophie. “But through the entire nightmare, the hospice stands out.
“While we’ve set a target of £100,000, we know we could never pay back the amount of money the hospice deserves for caring for Vic. They kept the family constantly updated on her worsening condition in the most dignified way. Every staff member knew her name.”
When Vic was discharged from hospital, she was prescribed 20 different types of medication to take daily and the impact this had on her family encouraged Sophie to contact Pendleside and refer her sister-in-law for help.
“Pendleside scooped her up, took her in and took care of her, leaving us to spend time quality time with her without worrying about all the medical things,” explained Sophie.
“They arranged ambulances to take her for radiotherapy, they did her makeup and styled her hair. The hospice was like our home for the six weeks she was there, and the staff were like our extended family.”
For more information about the Love Heart Walk or to make a donation, please visit loveheartwalk.com. Every person who signs up for the walk gets the GPS map free of charge.