Stevenage's Geraldine set to face biggest fear with charity wing walk in father's memory
PUBLISHED: 08:28 14 September 2019
A woman terrified of heights is taking part in a charity wing walk on Sunday in memory of her father.
Geraldine Strohm, president of the Rotary Club of Stevenage, is being strapped to the wing of a biplane to raise money for the East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals' Charity.
She said: "I'm afraid of heights, so I looked for the biggest challenge I could think of, just as my father, Geoffrey Strohm, faced the biggest battle of his life for three years - vascular dementia.
"I cared for him every day at his home, with additional support from carers, until it was no longer safe for him to stay there.
"We found the best place we could for him - Jubilee Court in Stevenage. He was well cared for there and I continued to be with him every day, right up to the end, but this meant I also got to witness the slow, agonising theft of every last piece of his personality and dignity by this cruel illness.
"When he was rushed several times to Lister Hospital with various related critical illnesses, like sepsis and pneumonia, I stayed with him, never expecting him to last the night, but many times he fought on."
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Geoffrey died in December last year and Geraldine is determined to pay tribute to him.
She said: "He was a gentle, loving and funny man who lived and loved simply. It still hurts that the kindest of people can be destroyed in this way." She continued: "On those frightening and regular stays at Lister, it became clear the teams there try so hard to support patients and the families of those living with dementia, and I couldn't fault their efforts, but they need support to be able to achieve the level of care they desperately want to give.
"Raising funds for them is not to 'prop up' the NHS, it's to enable the teams to give that extra care families in need so richly deserve.
"It was so hard to watch my dad taken slowly, piece by piece, by the cruel condition, but the care we both received when we needed it most was second to none and I want to thank the staff and help them to continue helping others."
Geraldine is hoping to raise £1,000 for the East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals' Charity, which supports Lister.
She said: "This is the target I've set and I'm so desperate to achieve it."
If you would like to sponsor Geraldine, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/Geraldine-Strohm1