Rawmarsh daughter joins charity walk to Light the Night in memory of mum

Rebecca Neill (28) from Rawmarsh pictured with her mum Allison Penman.
Rebecca Neill (28) from Rawmarsh pictured with her mum Allison Penman.

A determined daughter from Rotherham is stepping out at for a torch-lit night walk this October to raise vital funds for the hospital where her mum received treatment.

Rebecca Neill, aged 28, from Rawmarsh in Rotherham has signed up to Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity’s Light the Night Sponsored walk on October 3 to help raise vital funds for the region’s dedicated cancer hospital, Weston Park.

Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity exists to fund the hospital’s world-class cancer research and to improve the treatment and care for people living with cancer.

A year ago, in August 2014, Rebecca’s mum, Allison Penman was given the shock diagnosis of Small Cell Lung Cancer and after a biopsy at Rotherham Hospital; she was referred immediately to Weston Park Hospital to start chemotherapy treatment, followed by radiotherapy.

During treatment, Allison was an inpatient for almost two weeks, before she signed up for a clinical trial which began in the new year of 2015.

Keen to get back to normality and with scans showing no signs of the initial tumours on her lung, Allison returned to work in March in hope of leaving her cancer ordeal behind her for good.

But in a cruel twist of fate, Allison once again began to feel unwell and experienced similar symptoms to those which occurred before her initial diagnosis.

Within weeks, Allison was unable to walk and was admitted to Weston Park Hospital where the doctors did all they could to make her comfortable fearing that the cancer had spread to other organs.

Despite the best efforts of staff at Weston Park Hospital, Allison sadly passed away in May surrounded by her loving family and friends.

Rebecca, who was incredibly close to her mum said: “We just couldn’t believe it when we lost her. She had battled the disease for so many months and we all hoped that things were looking up.

“She was so strong throughout treatment and even when she felt at her lowest she still managed to smile through the pain.”

Mum of two, Allison who worked in Rotherham Hospital as a chef was a popular woman whose passion for life and motivation for work inspired many, her daughter said.

Rebecca continued: “In her last few weeks, mum set up her own JustGiving page to raise funds for Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity to say a big, big thank you for the excellent level of care she had received at the hospital. 
“Now all I want to do is continue fundraising in her memory and raise money for the cancer charity, which I know would have made her very proud.

“I can’t wait for the Light the Night walk and to raise money so that hopefully, families like ours don’t have to go through the same heartbreak in the future.

“My mum loved to dress up in fancy dress so I am certainly going to go all out and walk the route in my wild-west themed outfit!”

Now into its fourth year, Light the Night, which is being started by West Park Cancer Charity Patron, Jessica Ennis-Hill and sponsored by IML Labels & Systems, invites entrants to enjoy a 4.5k walk through Ecclesall Woods.

The charity is encouraging walkers to embrace the wild-west theme and step out in their cowboy hats.

The cancer charity needs to raise over £1.8 million this year to enable the funding of committed and new projects within Weston Park Hospital.

Fundraiser Sarah Cross said: “It’s really brave of Rebecca to join us at this year’s Light the Night event after losing her mum just a few months ago and we are so grateful for her support.

“We want to welcome families and friends alike to join us for this special event and raise money in memory of loved ones or in hope of a brighter future for thousands of patients fighting cancer across the region.

“The year we are extremely excited that Jessica Ennis-Hill will be joining us to start the walk and we’re hoping that with new entertainment and some exciting surprises along the route, people will really embrace the new Wild West theme as they walk through the woods.”

Entries are open for Light the Night - to sign up visit Light the Night or call the charity office on 0114 226 5370.