Chestnut Tree House launches Nurses’ Steps 2021, a new virtual challenge raising money for the children’s hospice

Nurses at Chestnut Tree House, the children’s hospice for Sussex, walk 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day when caring for their patients, and a new virtual event is calling on supporters to do the same, following in their footsteps every day in February.

The charity will send an exclusive pair of Chestnut Tree House shoelaces to keep you on track and at the end of the month, everyone who completes the challenge will receive a well-deserved medal.

Maggie Williams from Worthing started today and hopes to raise £1,300 in memory of her daughter Megan Williams.

Maggie said she had never heard of Chestnut Tree House until her nine-year-old daughter died unexpectedly in 2007.

Nurses’ Steps 2021 challenges people to walk a month in the footsteps of a hospice nurse to raise money for Chestnut Tree House

The support she received then, and continues to receive now, 14 years on, inspired her to sign up to take part in Nurses’ Steps 2021.

Maggie said: “They supported me through my deep grief. They continue to support me through remembrance events and knowing that I can visit the memorial garden at any time.

“When I was asked if I wanted Megan to go to Chestnut Tree House to rest before her funeral, I just said ‘yes’ without really knowing what I was agreeing to.

“When we arrived at Chestnut Tree House, we were greeting by the team and told that Megan had her own room, her own nurse and that we could spend as much time there as we wanted.

Maggie Williams on Scafell Pike

“I didn’t understand why we were being allocated a nurse as Megan was no longer with us but I came to understand how comforting it was, and the wonderful support we received from everyone at Chestnut Tree House was invaluable. We had time to sit in silence, time to be together, time to say goodbye.”

A stone with Megan’s name on it was placed in the hospice’s memorial garden and this brings Maggie some comfort.

She said: “It feels a bit strange in a way, that a children’s hospice is part of our lives, as we only came to know of it after Megan had died. But I know how much support they provide to families. Not only like us but for families of children with life-shortening conditions, who can make use of so many facilities and care services that they offer.

“It’s about so much more than end-of-life care. A friend of mine is currently supported by Chestnut Tree House and I know how important it is to her and her son – the respite, the specialist care, fun activities, all of it.”

Megan Williams in 2006, the year before she died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of nine

Chestnut Tree House nurses and care support workers walk on average 7,000 to 10,000 steps per shift. The Nurses’ Steps 2021 challenge asks supporters to walk either 7,000 or 10,000 steps a day in February in support of the nurses at the hospice, in Poling, near Arundel.

Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/margaret-williams6 to support Maggie, who has so far raised £655.

Visit www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk/nurses-steps for more information on Nurses’ Steps 2021 and to sign up. Registration costs £10 per person.