Nursing assistant recreates Grand Canyon challenge in lockdown for St Catherine’s

A nursing assistant from St Catherine’s Hospice is re-living a mammoth Grand Canyon challenge during lockdown to raise funds for the charity.

Julie Ball rafted the Grand Canyon 28 years ago, and is now re-enacting the experience from home on a rowing machine.

The 45-year-old, from Chorley, said: “Like many others, I’m having to isolate due to my own Lymphoma and asthma keeping me away from the job that I love. And like many other charities, St Catherine’s is taking a massive financial hit due to the Coronavirus, so I wanted to do something to help the hospice keep providing the love and care the charity is so well known for.

“I came across virtual challenges to row the length of the English Channel (21 miles) or walk the Inca Trail on a treadmill (26 miles).Then I saw the Grand Canyon option, which happens to be my favourite place on the planet, which is 280 miles!”

Julie, a mum-of-two who also runs a not-for-profit project making free mastectomy pillows, explained: “I had the most amazing experience of my life when I rafted the Grand Canyon for eight days, sleeping on the floor of the canyon, and I even got to steer the raft through some grade five rapids, so it seemed like the perfect challenge for me to take on during lockdown.

“This time I will be exploring it with my imagination and memories, doing my best to raise some much-needed funds for the wonderful place that is St Catherine’s Hospice.”

Emma Jacovelli, head of community engagement at the Lostock Hall hospice, said: “I love Julie’s fantastic idea to recreate a special memory and relive the experience of a lifetime under the current circumstances, doing something positive for herself and the hospice.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the incredible generosity of our wonderful supporters and communities since the Coronavirus outbreak meant we had to cancel our fundraising events and close our charity shops and The Mill café.

“Supportershave been coming up with so many inspiring and creative ways to generate funds for us, from cycling round Leyland on a unicycle, completing a Lego marathon, and hula hopping for an hour a day, to hosting virtual quizzes, yoga classes and concerts on behalf of St Catherine’s!

“People are really pulling together during these difficult days and we’re so grateful to everyone for being here for us and helping us to continue offering our specialist palliative and end-of-life care to local people at the hospice and in patients’ own homes.”

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