Put yourself in a nurse's shoes and raise much-needed funds

Soulla Economou getting ready for a day on her feet at St John’s Hospice. 

Soulla Economou getting ready for a day on her feet at St John’s Hospice. - Credit: St John's Hospice

A hospice nursing team has set London residents a challenge for the new year - match their daily steps and raise vital funds at the same time.

Having been run off their feet during the pandemic, three staff members at St John's Hospice's inpatient unit decided to measure the distance they were travelling.

Healthcare assistants Soulla Economou and Mylen Guadalupe, and senior staff nurse Wazhma Mansouri, wore pedometers to see how many steps they did during a normal 12-hour shift.

“We all said, 'wow', we couldn’t believe it. We realised we averaged around 11,500 steps every day,” said Soulla, 51. 

“I love my job. It’s a constant flow of work caring for the needs of patients and their families. Since Covid began, it has been really busy as our volunteers, who help us with things like preparing meals, have only just started to come back to work.

“When I work from 8am to 8.30pm, I barely stop and, if I am on an early shift, I walk home to Queen’s Park which adds another 40 minutes of steps.”

The trio have turned their daily "feat" into a challenge to inspire people to get outside and walk for their physical and mental health, while raising funds for the hospice which provides free palliative care to 4,000 terminally-ill patients per year across eight London boroughs.

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With the temporary closure last year of its two charity shops because of the crisis, and the cancellation of fundraising events, the hospice in St John's Wood is facing a 50 per cent drop in funds. 

“Since I started working here, walking has helped with my physical and mental wellbeing, and it is something most people can do,” said Soulla. “Every step you take will not only be helping you but others.”

Take the challenge – strap on a smart watch, pedometer or download a pedometer app to your phone. Then sign up to the challenge with a small entry fee of £5. Set up a sponsorship page on the hospice’s JustGiving site and ask your friends and family to support your challenge.

Visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ipu-nurse-step-challenge-tickets-133826947001 to find out more and read Soulla, Mylen and Wazhma’s stories.

Donations to St John’s Hospice can be made via https://www.stjohnshospice.org.uk/ or by calling 020 7806 4040 and asking for the fundraising team. Every £20 pays for a visit from a bereavement counsellor to support a family member and £50 will pay for three hours of one-to-one care for a patient.

READ MORE: St John’s Hospice: Appeal to meet £1.3m Covid-19 funding gap at north-west London charity

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