Appeal to find rickshaw for Stevenage mum with terminal cancer to complete hospice cycle challenge

PUBLISHED: 16:01 24 September 2020

Family photo L-R: Heidi's brother Graham, older sister and carer Maria, Heidi and finacé Simon Rutt. Picture: Courtesy of Heidi McNeill

Family photo L-R: Heidi's brother Graham, older sister and carer Maria, Heidi and finacé Simon Rutt. Picture: Courtesy of Heidi McNeill

Archant

A Stevenage mum with terminal cancer is on the lookout for a rickshaw, so she can accompany her friends and family in a Garden House Hospice Care cycle challenge.

Heidi's partner Simon getting the portable oxygen tank ready for her, as she needs this constantly to breathe. Picture: Heidi McNeillHeidi's partner Simon getting the portable oxygen tank ready for her, as she needs this constantly to breathe. Picture: Heidi McNeill

Heidi McNeill, who has planned for her palliative care to be carried out at the hospice, hopes to “give something back” by completing a fundraising challenge for the Letchworth-based hospice.

As she is not well enough to cycle herself, an army of friends and family are set to do the pedalling – if they can find a rickshaw for Heidi to accompany them.

Heidi was diagnosed with lung cancer in December last year, and it has now progressed to her brain.

The 49-year-old mum told the Comet: “With COVID-19, the donations for the hospice are down. I’ve got terminal cancer and my preferred end of life would be at the hospice. It’s like a home from home.

Heidi and her family, pre-cancer diagnosis. L-R: Fiancé Simon Rutt, Heidi, sisters Maria and Sharon, nephew Ashton - who is also fighting testicular cancer - brother Graham, his partner Michelle  and Maria's partner Terry. Picture: Courtesy of Heidi McNeillHeidi and her family, pre-cancer diagnosis. L-R: Fiancé Simon Rutt, Heidi, sisters Maria and Sharon, nephew Ashton - who is also fighting testicular cancer - brother Graham, his partner Michelle and Maria's partner Terry. Picture: Courtesy of Heidi McNeill

“Everything is organised, the funeral is paid for.

“Each month they say I’ve got two to three months, but I keep beating that.

“I would like to do the cycling for them myself, but sometimes I can barely breathe.

You may also want to watch:

“If we can get a rickshaw, I know there’s a lot of people who want to help the charity. Just to give something back for the hospice would be amazing.

“I’m not in as much pain as I thought I would be – but some days I can barely talk.

Life-long friend Wendy Hennessy is one of those who will be pedalling for Heidi during the challenge. The pair met when they both worked for the Comet and its sister paper, the Herts Advertiser, years ago.

Heidi’s partner Simon Rutt will also be taking part.

Heidi has been sheltering for the coronavirus since before the start of the official lockdown in March.

As a result, she sadly missed a ceremony for her son, who officially became a police constable last week.

“The main thing is, I’m alive to see that he got his dream job,” Heidi continued.

The Pedal for Pounds Challenge is taking place on Sunday, October 18, starting at the Letchworth Hall Hotel, in timed waves from 9am.

Anyone who has a rickshaw they are willing to donate to Heidi should email georgia.barrow@archant.co.uk, or get in touch with Wendy on wbg@live.co.uk.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Comet. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the The Comet