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Supporter raises £6k for the Stars Appeal Pembroke Unit Fund with virtual Everest cycle ride

Cancer patients in Salisbury are to benefit from a donation of more than £6,000 to the Stars Appeal, Salisbury District Hospital’s Charity.

Mike Southway was inspired by his sister Claire Hollick, who was treated for cancer at the Hospital for more than 10 years and sadly passed away last month, to do a virtual Everest cycle ride to thank all the doctors and nurses that cared for her.  

He raised £6,109.69 for the Stars Appeal Pembroke Unit Fund. A cheque was presented by Mike and his dad John to staff at the Unit on Thursday, December 1.

The money raised will go to support other cancer patients at the Hospital’s Pembroke Unit and will enable the Stars Appeal to provide extra care, facilities and equipment.

The charity fund free aromatherapy and swimming sessions, headwear for patients losing their hair, and free refreshments, and prehabilitation programmes helping patients to prepare for surgery and treatment as well as state-of-the art equipment and enhancements to the Pembroke Unit furnishings and environment.

“For me this was about improving the experience for people being treated for cancer as it is a horrible experience to go through,” explains Mike.

“It was important to me that the money could go to the Pembroke Unit where Claire was treated. It’s just incredible.

“Thank you doesn’t quite cover it. Thank you for looking after Claire.”

Claire, who previously lived in Salisbury, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003. After treatment she was in remission but in 2011, the cancer sadly returned and spread to other areas of her body. 

Late last year, she was given a terminal diagnosis and sadly passed away on November 6, aged 55. 

Before she passed away Mike, a keen endurance cyclist, completed a virtual cycle on a static bike trainer on October 29, which saw him cycle up a virtual mountain eight-and-a-half times – reaching 8,848 metres of ascent, the height of Mount Everest. It took him 12 hours and 40 minutes.

The 58-year-old did his Everest cycle at Bicycle Chain in Taunton where he was cheered on by customers and supporters. He was blown away by all the generous donations received.

Mike, who lives in Taunton, added: “I feel privileged and grateful to be able to make a small contribution to help others like Claire.”