INSPIRED by her cousin’s resilience after losing her husband to a brain tumour, Tasha Chesterman is now poised to undertake her most physical challenge to date for the hospice that cared for him to the very last.
The nurse at the Great Western Hospital will tackle a five-day trek across the Sahara desert in October, in an attempt to raise just £1,995 for the 160 Appeal in aid of Prospect Hospice.
Her cousin Julie Haynes’ husband Richard Tweddell was diagnosed with a tumour in March 2004.
In July 2005, he underwent a difficult operation followed by courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. When it appeared his condition was incurable, the young father was referred to the Wroughton hospice where he passed away in March 2010 at the age of 33.
Since his death, the mother-of-two, who also worked at the hospice for eight months as part of her role as the Great Western Hospital in 2001, has become one of Prospect’s most fervent fundraisers, collecting £3,000 through a skydive, the charity’s Fire & Glass walk and her upcoming trek.
“I am doing this for two reasons,” said the 40-year-old junior sister on the chemotherapy unit. “My cousin’s husband died at Prospect Hospice and I know how great they were there. My family experienced it first-hand.
“My cousin was actually the one that got me to do the skydive in the first place in 2012 and the crazy pattern of challenges since.”
She added: “I also went to work at the Prospect for about eight months in 2001 and Prospect means a lot to me.
“You get great insight when you work there. It’s emotionally draining but it’s amazing the things that you do there. I can particularly remember helping a gentleman do a memory box for his daughter. It was an honour. It stuck in my mind.”
So far Tasha, of Malmesbury, has raised £1,300 towards the 70km expedition, just £700 short of her target – which she must reach by July 19.
“I just thought the trek sounded brilliant and I wanted to do another challenge for them that was endurance-based,” she added.
“It’s going to be very physical and definitely the toughest thing I’ve done but it’s a good cause. I keep walking and try to keep fit, but putting the time in can be very hard with children. I think the hardest part will be the heat and sand, dehydration and camping outside with no facilities. But it will be good to be somewhere away from technology and back to nature.”
Tasha will hold a charity music night on Saturday, June 28 at Brinkworth Village Hall from 8pm.
- To sponsor her visit www.justgiving.com/ tashathedesertnurse. Or text ICED49 with the amount you wish to donate to 70070.