Jake and Sam Holman are about to take on the Three Peaks Challenges, climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon in just 24 hours. The brothers explain why...
Jake: I’ve wanted to do a bigger challenge for St Helena for a little while now. We’ve done little bits before, raised a bit of money, and now we want to start taking on some bigger challenges. We can raise a larger amount of money just really to say thank you and to help out because we know St Helena is run off donations and it relies on that, so any little thing we can do, we can give back something. And that’s why we’ve now signed up to be volunteers for the events team as well.
Our mum and dad both passed away in the Hospice, both in there for varying amounts of time. Before that our granddad passed away so our first hospice experience was with him being there, so we knew what an amazing place it was.
When you go through something like that… It’s been eight years since our dad and four years since our mum. It’s not an easy thing to go through at all but I can honestly say being in the Hospice did make it slightly more bearable. It actually did help the whole experience and [helped us] to accept what was happening and what had happened.
The staff there, the way it works… we can’t thank people enough.
Sam: We got some counselling through the Hospice afterwards which really helped. It took a while to come to turns with what had happened but now we’re at a stage where it’s time to start giving back and just trying to do a bit where we can. A lot of people down the line are going to need this place so it’s good to help. We feel like it’s important to help.
It was brutal really. Because we were there with our grandad six years before our dad was there, we kind of had an understanding, but at that point we were only 16/17. We were really close to our dad so when we got to that point it was just… I don’t know, you go into shock really and I don’t think you really know until a bit later. It hit us pretty hard. And then to go through it again a few years later, it just hits you like a ton of bricks.
Jake: It’s like, you can’t believe it’s actually happening, and even now it’s still hard to think it’s actually real and they’re gone. But we’ve been brought up the right way and we’re lucky we’ve got each other and our younger brother because I think that has helped us push each other to get through it. And since that time we’ve wanted to make sure we are good people and we can have a good life and enjoy our life and do it for their memories.
Sam: It does give you a bit of extra motivation. At the time you don’t realise it but now I think, well if it hadn’t happened I wouldn’t have done some things I’ve done in the last few years to try to improve and do things better. It does give you motivation to try to achieve something with your life because you know how short it can be, so that sticks in your head and you think, well I want to make the most of it however short or long time, I want to make the most of it.
Jake: You appreciate what you’ve got and live in the moment rather than looking back and going I should have done more with that.
Sam: I think we’ve re-evaluated a lot since before it all happened, you just look at things so differently.
Jake: We’ve tried to make the best we can of what’s happened. It’s not easy and some times are harder than others but we’ve used it as our motivation. We’ve managed to get through a tricky period and we’re both happy with where we are in our lives. We’re trying to appreciate what we’ve got and make the most of it right now. It’s quite easy to drift and coast by, that just happens naturally but what’s happened has made us a bit more mature and wiser to the world. It’s probably made us better people – we had to come through a lot to get there and it has made us who we are now. It’s tough but what can you do? You’ve got to carry on.
Sam: That’s the thing, there’s nothing we can do, it’s out of our control and I wish it hadn’t happened, but now I’m of the mind set of ‘if we can help other people that would be good’ and it makes you feel better.
Jake: It’s the whole atmosphere right from when you walk in the door; it’s very calm, very relaxed. The staff are amazing; anything you ask for comes quickly, they’re happy to answer your questions… all of the little touches just create a nice environment when you are going through something so horrible. We know a small difference does help when you’re going through the experience. I feel lucky that if it had to happen, at least it was there and we could have that period before, there. I know not everyone is fortunate to have that for that time. It’s all part of why we like to give something back.
Sam: Everyone is very friendly; everyone says hello to you. It feels quite homely. I remember sitting in the little canteen and the lounge; there are little places where you can go to just have a minute when you are seeing someone you love in that sort of state, because you do come out of the room and gather your thoughts and compose yourself and then go back in there. There were a few nights when it was close to the end and they set up a little bedroom and we stayed a few nights. It’s just little things like that which go a long way. I just didn’t want to go home at that point. It all helps really.
We know how important it is for people at the time. It took us a long time to come to terms with things but then when you look back now you think I don’t know how people do without it.
Our dad was quite a strong character and I never thought it was going to happen. I kept living as though he was going to get through it but then when it did happen, I realised. And then when my mum was here a few years later we knew how serious it was and knew there was a chance it was going to end, so you prepare yourself a bit better I think.
Jake: Because you’ve been through it you know what to expect, to know what’s coming. It’s not easy but you do know what’s ahead.
We’d been there every day at some point, they probably got fed up with us in the canteen! We’d get tea, coffee, biscuits… we’d come here for dinner every night.
Sam: I think I cleaned the biscuit tin out! When we’ve done the challenge, obviously it’s a good achievement but I think we will be thinking about mum and dad.
Jake: That’ll be the motivation to keep us going and keep pushing us along. I love being outdoors, seeing these amazing places. I’m looking forward to pushing myself out of my comfort zone. And we get to spend the day together.
Sam: Yeah, we’ll have a lot of chats on the way up and down. It will be good. We’ve always been into sports so we like active things, so I’m looking forward to the challenge and at the end of it hopefully to say that we’ve done it and we’ve raised some money, I think it will be a nice achievement. That’s why we’re doing it; not to prove anything but it’s a good thing to do.
Jake: We’d like to try to do a bigger challenge every year or two… we’ll see how this one goes for a start.
Sam: Hopefully it may inspire someone else.
Jake: I see other people doing something for the Hospice and I think, we’ve got to do something too.
Jake and Sam are set for their 24 hour Three Peaks Challenge on Saturday 29th June to Sunday 30th June. To sponsor them, please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jake-sam-holman
To contact the St Helena Fundraising team, please telephone 01206 931 468 or email firstname.lastname@example.org , Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm.
24 hour advice: SinglePoint 01206 890 360
SinglePoint is a 24/7 advice and support helpline which helps to coordinate an individual’s care with the hospice. SinglePoint also works alongside other healthcare services such as GPs, Community Nurses or Specialists.
To contact a patient at The Hospice please find the address and telephone number below. Phone calls can be made to patients at any time of the day or week. You can contact Inpatient Services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Hospice, Myland Hall, Barncroft Close, Highwoods, Colchester, C04 9JU
Telephone: 01206 845 566
You can contact The Hospice in the Home Team Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 5.00pm on:
Telephone: 01206 845 566
Tendring community team
Telephone: 01255 221 222
You can contact the Joan Tomkins Centre (Colchester) Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm on:
Telephone: 01206 848 163
Fax: 01206 752 245
You can contact the St Helena Tendring Centre (Clacton) Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 5.00pm on 01255 221 222
Tendring Centre Postcode for Sat Navs: CO15 1EU
The HR Team can be contacted Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm on 01206 931 466
To contact the St Helena Finance Team please telephone 01206 931 450 Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm
The Volunteer Services team can be contacted Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm on 01206 931 466
For all media enquiries between 9.00am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday, please phone the Marketing and Communications team directly on 01206 931 464
If you, or a member of your family has a life-limiting illness and would like to discuss whether St Helena care services can help, you can contact the SinglePoint telephone service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 01206 890 360
To contact the St Helena Bereavement Support team please telephone the bereavement helpline: 01206 984 274, Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm
The Learning and Development Centre is open Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm and can be contacted on 01206 851 560
For more information on the St Helena Service User Group please contact Chair, Ken Aldred on 01206 751 397
To contact the Lottery team please call 0800 285 1390 or visit the website here, Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.
If you would like to write to or visit the Lottery team, the address is: Your Hospice Lottery Office Unit 6 The Atrium, Phoenix Square, Wyncolls Road, Colchester CO4 9AS.
Feedback, comments and complaints about St Helena care and support services may be made verbally or in writing to: Director of Care, St Helena, Myland Hall, Barncroft Close, Highwoods, Colchester, CO4 9JU. To speak to a member of our team, call 01206 845 566