When Kiran Seeley steps over the edge of Birmingham’s Park Regis Hotel to join John Taylor Hospice’s first abseil, she’ll be remembering her very special grandmother.
“She was always happy – just an absolute joy to be around,” says Kiran when asked to describe her grandmother Enid. “She was so supportive, loved to hear what I was up to and took a great interest in her grandchildren. I remember when I was younger and she’d come to our house to visit. When I’d go to bed that night I’d find £10 stuffed under my pillow. I’d call her up to thank her and she would say ‘don’t tell your mom and dad’! I have so many special memories of her.”
When grandmother-of-two Enid Seeley was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, Kiran and her family were devastated. “She was told that the cancer was too close to her brain so they couldn’t operate,” explains 27-year-old Kiran.
“Chemotherapy and radiotherapy weren’t an option so as a family we pulled together, helping her to still do the things she loved and making sure she was as comfortable as she could be.”
In the spring of 2010, Enid moved from her home in Fillongley, Warwickshire, to live with her son and daughter-in-law, Kiran’s parents, in Erdington.
“I was at university in Liverpool at the time but I came home early that summer to spend time with Granny and help Mom and Dad the best I could,” said Kiran. “She started to become frailer and that’s when John Taylor’s Hospice at Home Team came to support us.
“From my grandmother’s perspective she loved their company. She’d tell the nurses about her life and the little things they did meant so much – like switching on her favourite radio station Classic FM. From our family’s perspective, their support was a big relief.
“My grandmother passed away peacefully at home in August of that year. It was a bit of a blur for me at the time but now I look back I appreciate just how gentle and compassionate the hospice staff were and my grandmother needed that.”
A committed fundraiser, each year Kiran pledges to raise money for a good cause. She was en route to her job as a buyer for Marston’s Brewery in Wolverhampton when she spotted her next charitable challenge – John Taylor Hospice’s abseil.
She explains: “The last two years I’ve been baking to raise money and whilst this is both fun and tasty it is a hobby I am very much comfortable doing. This year I wanted to set myself a true challenge.
“I was on the train to work when I spotted an advert for John Taylor’s sponsored abseil and I thought ‘that’s it!’. The hospice provided specialist and considerate palliative care for my grandmother so now’s the time for me to do something for them.”
Kiran, who hopes to raise as much money as possible when she takes the 170ft plunge, is encouraging others to join her on 8 July. “It’s a great way to raise money for hospice care and will be an amazing thrill! You can even share the experience with a friend or family member as you can abseil down the building at the same time. Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me – by donating to a very worthy cause you’re helping give me the confidence to jump down!”
Head of fundraising Katie Mitchell, who is also part of the abseil team, said: “Kiran and all of our abseilers are doing something wonderful to support John Taylor Hospice. Throughout the past year, hundreds of people like Kiran have helped us provide essential care for local families by fundraising for us. Whether it’s by taking on a challenge, hosting an event or attending one of our events, we’d like to say a huge thank you to each and every one of our supporters. Together we’re making a massive difference for hundreds of patients and their families.”