A determined family honour their memories and raise funds for East Cheshire Hospice - East Cheshire Hospice

A determined family honour their memories and raise funds for East Cheshire Hospice

The last 12 months have been a year to forget for Viv Denny and her siblings after losing their brother and mother.

But they were determined to honour their memories by climbing Mount Snowdon with friends, raising £3,460 for East Cheshire Hospice.

Gary Paluk, a self-taught software developer and programmer, spent a month in the Hospice where he died on Christmas Eve, aged 45.

Their mum Christine Barnett, a retired retail assistant, passed away four months earlier, having suffered heart failure unexpectedly.

Viv said: “We did the walk to remember them both. It was an awful year and we never really had a chance to grieve mum’s loss because we were on this journey with Gary.

“It was a huge shock when he was diagnosed with colon cancer in August 2021. He survived emergency surgery and had a further operation to remove tumours from his liver.

Gary with wife Neung, sisters Sharron and Viv and brother Ash at East Cheshire Hospice.

“It was his wish to return to Thailand, his second home, for a holiday. However, once the cancer spread he wasn’t able to travel. His wife Neung is from there and he wanted to say his goodbyes to her family.

“We didn’t think he’d be here for his birthday last November, but he proved us all wrong again. He then went into the Hospice and they gave us all another month together.

“What an amazing place. You don’t realise it until you’re in their care and see exactly what they do.

“They’re incredible. His wife and nine-year-old son Isaac were able to stay overnight in an adjoining room to be with Gary. The Hospice make a difference to the whole family, not just the patient.

“Nothing was too much trouble. The weekend before Gary passed away they laid on a buffet and drinks in the family room with a visit from Father Christmas.

“The memories are precious to us all. Isaac also received three bears with his dad’s voice recorded in them, which will forever be a precious gift.

Snowdon climbers (from left), Neung Paluk, Jenny Smallwood, Isaac Paluk, Jayne Woosey, Viv Denny, Sharron Whittaker, Ash Paluk and Donna Denny. 

“Once Hospice staff know your name, they don’t forget you. Many people must pass through those doors, but they know who you are and who you’re connected to. The care is personal.”

Friends joined Viv’s sister Sharron, brother Ash, Neung and Isaac for the Snowdon challenge. Isaac did not make it to the top, but he has promised to do so when he is older to make his dad proud.

* To donate visit justgiving.com/page/vivian-denny-1711287669619

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