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Goring woman honours late partner with Pangbourne charity walk

Goring woman Samantha Saye, 46, will walk in memory of her husband this Saturday.

She will be joined by hundreds of other fundraisers for the 5k walk around Pangbourne College.

Her partner, Ivan Hooker, received expert care and support from the Sue Ryder Palliative Care Hub in South Oxfordshire, before dying of cancer, aged 44, in September 2020.

Samantha with Ivan and their two children, William and Eleanor, at Lizard Poin in Cornwall in July 2017, months before Ivan’s diagnosis
Samantha with Ivan and their two children, William and Eleanor, at Lizard Poin in Cornwall in July 2017, months before Ivan’s diagnosis

Mr Hooker was diagnosed with Stage 4 sinus cancer in 2017. Although he initially responded well to treatment, his health deteriorated towards the end of 2019 and he was rushed to hospital after losing vision in his left eye.

He was scheduled for extensive brain surgery in March 2020, but surgeons discovered the cancer was worse than scans had indicated.

Ms Saye is now encouraging other local people to join her at the Sue Ryder Starlight Hike Thames Valley to raise vital funds for the charity.

She will be joined by her children, William, 10, and Eleanor, six, who have named their team ‘Ivan's Immortals’.

"In the early stages, we were all a bit shell-shocked, but the team at Sue Ryder were brilliant in providing us with extra support, which was helpful as we had very young children," Mrs Saye explained.

"Ivan was given months to live and it was in April when he was discharged from the hospital that our real journey began.

"It was really challenging for everyone as we were now in the first Covid lockdown and Ivan required 24 hour assistance.

"Sue Ryder nurses visited us three times a day. They were amazing in providing all the equipment we needed to help make Ivan comfortable at home, which is where he wanted his final days to be.

"Ivan enjoyed building up a rapport with the nurses. The physiotherapists helped him to get out into the garden in a wheelchair. They helped us to do normal everyday things as a family, even though it wasn’t a normal time.

"Although it was not easy seeing their daddy so poorly, the children were able to spend precious time with him. It was important to continue to make happy family memories together while we could.

"In June 2020, we had an early Christmas for Ivan. Sue Ryder nurses came to the house with tinsel, brought baubles for the children to put on the tree and sang Christmas songs.

"In September, my daughter started primary school and the Sue Ryder team made a special timetable, so I could take her for her first day, which continued until Ivan died a few weeks later."

Talking about the walk, Ms Saye added: "I would absolutely encourage people to sign up. It’s going to be an emotional night as we walk in memory of Ivan, but it’s important for us to carry on supporting Sue Ryder to ensure that they are there for other families like they were for us."

To donate to Ms Saye's JustGiving page, visit: justgiving.com/fundraising/samantha-saye1.

Registration begins at 6.30pm with entertainment and a warm-up. At 8pm, walkers sporting fancy dress, flashing headwear and neon face paint will set out, enjoying live music along the way.

Online entry is now closed, but tickets can be purchased on the night at £20 for adults and £6 for children aged six-12. Children under five go free.

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