Harry Finnigan’s grandfather was an inspiration to him, so he wants to honour his memory by raising money for the hospice that cared for him in his last days.
The 30-year-old from Rustington will by cycling nearly 650 miles in just over a week in the summer and has set a target to raise £4,000 for St Barnabas House in Worthing.
Harry said: “My love for my grandad and how he helped me through my schooling and his life achievements have inspired me to make something of my life.
“He had an extremely difficult childhood, so what he achieved was inspiring. I also want others to be able to have the care St Barnabas gave my grandpa.”
Harry’s grandfather, John Ian Crammond, known as Ian, was referred to the hospice by the cardiac unit at Worthing Hospital. He was assigned to the disease specific nursing team, which was set up in 2016 to provide specialist palliative care for patients with specific illnesses.
Harry said: “Grandpa had advanced heart failure and was assigned the wonderful advanced heart failure nurse Michaela Wheatley by Dr Bob Dissanayake from the Worthing cardiac unit.
“Michaela visited Grandpa at home and went through some very difficult questions with my mum, aunt and Grandpa to ensure his wishes were met. She was with us the whole way until he died.
“She sorted out medication when our surgery said it would take seven days but he needed it urgently, she chased up the district nurses when communication was not happening and she gave us numbers of people to help with getting him a special bed, commode and frames into his house.
“She listened to what Dad wanted and respected his decisions, like turning off his defibrillator, do not resuscitate forms, where he wanted to die – such hard questions for us all but so necessary to ensure Grandpa’s end of life was as close to his wishes as possible and the most dignified for him.
“A few days before he died, when he was in hospital, she visited him and arranged for him to go to St Barnabas House, organising an ambulance and explained to him in the most caring way that he was now dying.
“Michaela gave us all more valuable time with Grandpa during his last few weeks and made his life more comfortable, enabling him to have a dignified death surrounded by those he loved.”
Michaela joined the disease specific nursing team in June 2016 and has so far provided specialist support for more than 150 people with advanced heart failure.
Harry said: “I would like to do something to raise money for St Barnabas so they can carry on doing the fantastic job they do and helping many more families in all sorts of different ways.”
He will take on some of the renowned Tour de France stages as he cycles from London to Geneva from Wednesday, July 25, to Friday, August 3.
The first stage is organised by Global Adventure Challenges and starts with a four-day ride through the English countryside to Kent.
After crossing The Channel to Calais, Harry will continue through northern France to Paris, where stage one ends in a spectacular ride up the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe and on to the Eiffel Tower.
The following day will be a rest day, as the peloton races into Paris for the final stage of the Tour de France.
Harry will then head for the Jura Mountains and will tackle the hairpin bends of Col de la Faucille, a climb often included in the Tour de France route, before descending to the finish line on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland.
He has raised £3,560 so far. Visit www.justgiving.com/harry-finnigan to make a donation.