- Advertisement -
Saturday, 31 October 2020

CHARITY TODAY AWARDS

‘The Road To Ace Grace Place’ – 120-mile Walk in Memory of Daughter

- Advertisement -

THE family of a little girl who passed away from a rare and aggressive form of cancer have walked more than 120-miles in her honour.

‘The Road to Ace Grace Place’ was a challenging hike from Worsley to Filey to raise funds for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity in memory of Gracie Jones. Dodging thunderstorms, sore legs, painful blisters and wrong directions were par for the course but her parents Caroline Hart and John Jones made it to the finish line on Saturday evening.

The walk not only raised more than £7,500 for the hospital’s oncology unit, Ward 84, it was also an opportunity to raise awareness of a house John and Caroline have purchased, aptly named ‘Ace Grace Place’. The house in Filey can be used by Ward 84 children and their families for respite and relaxation by the coast.

Along the route, friends and family members joined them on a leg of the walk, but Caroline, John and Caroline’s brother Steven completed the entire course – a gruelling four days of hiking from Worsley to Filey, via York.

John, 43, who lives with Caroline and their son Freddie in Worsley, Salford said:

“It was definitely painful, especially towards the end, but it was an absolutely brilliant experience. It was such good fun and a great laugh – so many friends and family were able to join us for a day of walking so that really made it special. And lots of people were encouraging us with texts and posts on our Facebook page too.

“There were some low points and times when we really thought we’d have to give up, we were so sore. But then towards the end of Day 3, a huge rainbow appeared right over our heads from one side of the road to the other and that was definitely Gracie encouraging us on. That was her telling us to keep going.”

Gracie in her school uniform

Gracie, who was born in February 2011, was just two years old when Caroline and John noticed a little lump on the side of her nose. She was referred to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist at her local hospital, but just before her third birthday, the family were told she had a rare and aggressive form of cancer known as Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma.

It was then she met a consultant on Ward 84 – a place the family would come to think of as their second home – full of friends going through similar journey’s to Grace.

Caroline, 42, said:

“Everyone on Ward 84 looked after us incredibly well. She loved it there and she was always singing and dancing for the staff – she made a bit of her name for herself as a performer on the ward.

“As much as possible she just wanted to be a normal little girl. She was full of confidence and had no issue standing in front of a group of strangers and doing a dance show for them.”

After her initial diagnosis and nine months of chemotherapy, Gracie spent a blissful year at home – back with her family and cancer-free. But unfortunately, the cancer returned when Gracie was four-and-a-half years old.

Caroline said:

“It felt like we’d just started getting back to normal when it came back again. In the end, it just took over and we lost her in June 2017.

“Although she went through some really intense treatments she never really let it get her down. She took it all in her stride.

“She was a huge fan of singing and dancing and she loved performing to Madonna. She was a particular fan of Papa Don’t Preach so that’s the song we warmed up to before setting off on the walk to Filey.

“She was a sassy little diva and very into the 80s style and image – she was born in the wrong decade! She was very much the life and soul of the room she was in.”

It is Gracie’s zest and positive attitude which has always been behind her parents’ fundraising for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity. Over the years, they’ve raised more than £60,000 for the Charity and their latest fundraiser will take them close to the £70,000 mark.

As well as the walk to Filey, the family have held a number of fundraising events. Arguably the toughest was back in October 2017 when John and his friends walked from Worsley to Snowdon, up Snowdon and then back again to Worsley – a round trip of about 180 miles.

All their fundraising goes to projects benefitting Ward 84 and the hospital’s oncology services. The latest project the family will help to fund is a refurbishment of the ward’s outpatient consultation rooms, to make them more child-friendly when children are seeing their consultants and specialists, and the playroom, which will be kitted out with the latest equipment.

Not only was the walk a fundraising opportunity, but it was also a chance for the family to announce their new Ace Grace Place – a house they have bought in Filey which families from Ward 84 can stay in for holidays.

Caroline said:

“Gracie loved Filey and I know she would want us to continue holidaying there. She’d be very happy to know lots of children could enjoy the place as she did.”

Angela Rowe, Senior Community Fundraising Manager for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity, has known the family for a number of years. Angela was able to go along to see the family setting off on their walk and took along Charity mascot Humphrey Bear, so he could wave them off.

Angela said:

“Caroline and John are just amazing at what they do – they have raised an incredible amount of money and it really has made a substantial difference to families on Ward 84.

“I’m sure Ace Grace Place will be able to fulfil the ethos we’ve always had as a charity too – to make a difficult time in someone’s life that little bit easier. And having heard all about Gracie and her love of the limelight I’m sure she’d be very proud to know all of this is being done in her name!”

To find out more about the family’s fundraising and to make a donation please visit: www.acegrace.org

Sign up to receive full FREE access to charity news and special sector offers.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Stay Connected

1,374FansLike
1,834FollowersFollow
30,217FollowersFollow
1,200SubscribersSubscribe

Must Read

Claire Horton CBE is leaving Battersea to take a up new role

BATTERSEA Dogs & Cats Home has announced the departure of its longstanding Chief Executive, Claire Horton CBE. After 11 years leading the world-famous animal...

Experts hope an anti-sickness drug will treat hallucinations in Parkinson’s

PARKINSON'S UK is funding a new research study into a possible treatment for hallucinations in Parkinson's. Ondansetron is an anti-sickness medication, usually used for people...

Employment News

Varun Chandra appointed as a trustee of the Royal Academy Trust

HAKLUYT, the global strategic advisory firm, is delighted to announce that Varun Chandra, managing partner, has been appointed a trustee of the Royal Academy...

New post will support young people transitioning between hospice services

EAST Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH), Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice and Arthur Rank Hospice Charity have announced the appointment of Transition Coordinator, Kristie Foreman....

New Trustees to help ‘Bring Joy’ to older people

NATIONAL charity, The Home Instead Senior Care Bring Joy Foundation, which was founded to bring joy into the lives of older people across the...

Related News

Children’s hospice fundraiser Jim wins Pride of Manchester Award

A DJ and Elvis impersonator who raised more than £200,000 over 25 years of fundraising for Francis House Children's Hospice has seen his dedication...

Mental Health Charity appoints new CEO

MENTAL health charity, The Counselling Foundation from November is set to welcome Emma Branch as the new CEO to lead their organisation into the...

RBC Race For The Kids raises £450k for Great Ormond Street Hospital

GREAT Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) patients, families, staff and celebrity supporters were among over 3,300 participants taking part in the first-ever virtual RBC Race...

Inspirational family host multi-coloured baby shower with a difference as they prepare to say goodbye to unborn son

A family who faces the devastating prospect of saying goodbye to their baby boy soon after he’s born are determined that his short life...

Yorkshire charities’ collaboration helps over 400 people stay socially connected

HUDDERSFIELD-based Yorkshire Children's Centre (YCC) has partnered with Age UK Calderdale and Kirklees (C&K) to deliver a telephone befriending service for the district's most...
- Advertisement -
X