Tracy takes on the ‘Let’s Dance’ challenge
On Saturday 16 September, Tracy Thomas, 42, from Brixham will be donning her dancing shoes and throwing some shapes in a dancing challenge of a lifetime – Let’s Dance – to raise funds for the hospice. She’ll be dancing in memory of her dad who was cared for by Rowcroft before he passed away when Tracy was just 13. (Tracy is pictured as young bridesmaid [left], with her younger sister Paula, and her mum and dad.)
“I remember my mum and dad sitting me down and telling me that dad had been diagnosed with throat cancer,” said Tracy. “Obviously at that age I couldn’t really understand what that really meant, so I just carried on with my daily life, although I had begun to notice all the little changes like the nurses coming to the house.”
Memories of the hospice
“As his condition deteriorated, he went to Rowcroft’s Inpatient Unit. He was so surprised at how homely and welcoming it was; he said it was like staying in a wonderful hotel where everything was so clean and tidy and organised! He was a cheeky devil and he used to have a real laugh with the nurses, winding them up and joking with them all the time.
“I can remember going to see him at the hospice as a little girl. My sister and I would play in the gardens and make daisy chains, and it was great that Dad was able to come out in his wheelchair and join us there. Looking back, I’m so grateful that we had this amazing time together; those relaxed moments spent with him outdoors wouldn’t have been possible if he’d been in hospital.”
The importance of family time
“The Rowcroft team also helped him to come home for afternoon visits when he could manage it. Having that time with Dad at home gave us a feeling of normality, and we were able to hold on to our time together as a family.
“But then, his cancer spread and he didn’t have much time left. Rowcroft organised for his care to be transferred to our home for those final weeks. This gave us our final bit of family time together and some precious memories. We were still able to have those last chuckles with him; we were able to sit down and watch TV together, and I would come home from school and tell Dad what I’d done that day. It made all the difference to be at home with him, and he passed away surrounded by his family, which was the best it could be.
“I was only 13 when he died; it was a very confusing and emotional time. I coped by throwing myself into all sorts of physical challenges like hiking trips and canoeing adventures, and that’s what kept me going, and still does today!”
Supporting the hospice
“Needless to say, Rowcroft has always been close to my heart, and it’s been brilliant to be able to support the hospice by taking part in all kinds of Rowcroft challenges over the years. I can’t wait for the Let’s Dance event in September; I’m going with some friends and it will be so much fun, especially as we all just love to dance! I’m hoping to dance for the whole seven hours, though we have the option to dip in and out as we wish, so we’ll just see how it goes.
“I love that the Rowcroft events always give you a goal to aim for, and there’s a satisfying sense of achievement at the end. It also feels really good knowing that I’m giving something back to the hospice. I’m so thankful that Rowcroft was there to help my family through a really tough time and it’s great that I can help other local families by taking part in events like Let’s Dance.
“It would be disastrous for our community if we didn’t have a hospice like Rowcroft. It’s such a vital service that’s desperately needed.”
About Let’s Dance
The seven-hour Let’s Dance challenge starts at Torquay’s Riviera International Centre at 4pm on Saturday 16 September with sessions in Zumba, street dance, pop classics, Bollywood, and barn dancing. The night culminates in an iconic disco journey through the decades with South Devon’s leading DJs Mike and Ben McGowan playing a mix of disco, house and funk and a whole lot more. Participants can dance for as little or as long as they want, and the event is open to everyone over the age of eight – regardless of fitness levels or dancing ability.
It costs just £15 for those aged 16 and over to sign up (£10 for under 16s), and Rowcroft asks that you raise or donate a minimum of £20 to support the hospice. Or if you prefer, you can purchase a non-sponsorship adult ticket for £35.
Book your place before midnight on 6 August with code ROCK and get a 20% discount on the £15 entry price (£10 for under 16s). For further information, see: rowcrofthospice.org.uk/letsdance
More news from Rowcroft