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19 Jun 2020 Community

Lacing up in memory of Brenda

This Saturday should have seen the local community coming together to take part in Kirkwood’s 14th annual Midnight Memory Walk. Coronavirus has meant the event will now take place later in the year, but to mark what should have been the weekend of the event, long-time Kirkwood supporter, Michael Haigh, shares his experience of the event he’s been taking part in since 2016...

Michael Haigh, of Kirkheaton, has taken part in Kirkwood’s Midnight Memory Walk every year since 2016, after Kirkwood cared for his wife, Brenda, throughout her illness and at the end of her life in July 2017.

“Brenda was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 and this became terminal a couple of years later. It was at this point that Kirkwood got involved.

“We began attending the Drop-In service in 2016. We’d pop into Kirkwood to talk to the staff as well as other patients who were on a similar journey to us, it was extremely comforting for Brenda and me.

“At the beginning of 2017, Brenda made the decision to stop all treatment as it was no longer making a difference. At this point, we were referred to Kirkwood’s Community Nursing Team.

Brenda and Michael on their wedding day

 

“Victoria Robinson, Brenda’s Kirkwood Nurse, was a wonderful source of support to both of us at a very difficult and trying time. Victoria would always talk to Brenda with a lot of care and compassion.

“Sometimes it is so helpful and reassuring when people are just there for you during difficult times. It is important for people to know that you don’t have to go to Kirkwood when you need their help, because Kirkwood will come to you.

“Brenda was never an In-Patient at Kirkwood, but we both benefitted tremendously from all the help, advice and support that was provided but our Kirkwood Nurse.”

Brenda sadly died in July 2017 and since then, Michael has continued to support Kirkwood in many different ways.

“I first took part in the Midnight Memory Walk in 2016. As I attended a Drop-In session with Brenda, she spotted a leaflet for the event as she was signing in and suggested that I take part with our son, Ian.”

In 2017, Michael took part in the Walk for the second year running with his good friend Keith, just weeks before Brenda died. The following year, Michael returned to the Midnight Memory Walk with his friends and family as ‘Team Brenda’ and took over the streets of Kirklees with personalised T-shirts to pay tribute to his beloved wife.

 

“Every Midnight Memory Walk event is brilliant. Even if you are on your own, you’re never really on your own because its like walking with one big family. We are all there for our own reasons and to support Kirkwood.”

Completing the 2020 Midnight Memory Walk was set to be a personal challenge for Michael, and although the event has been postponed until Saturday 8th October, he is determined to take on the 10 mile walk one way or another.

“Taking part in the Midnight Memory Walk will always be inspired by my wife Brenda and a way for me to pay tribute to her. However, this year, it is also going to be a personal challenge for me after having a heart attack in September 2019.

“I have been working hard to build my strength back up and I am determined to take on the 10 mile route as always.

“I also want this to be an opportunity to raise as much as possible for Kirkwood as I know it has been a difficult time recently due to the cancellation of events following the coronavirus pandemic. My last big fundraiser for Kirkwood was my Wing Walk back in 2018 and although I have donated to Kirkwood in other ways since then, I really want to make a difference this year and help boost funds.”

If you’d like to join Michael and take part in the Midnight Memory Walk this year, you can sign up to the rescheduled event on Saturday 8th October, or take part in your own time with the Virtual Memory Walk.

For more information, click here.

As many of you will know, this year’s Midnight Memory Walk was due to take place on Saturday 20th June. Sadly, this can no longer take place, but we are hosting a free live event on YouTube. Click here to find out more.

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