Cancer patient’s Wrekin climb in aid of nursing staff who cared for her

A breast cancer patient has raised almost £3,500 for two wards at a hospital in the Black Country after climbing up Shropshire's most famous hill with help from friends.

In front of Snowdrop Millennium Chemotherapy Suite in Deanesly Centre, from left, Sunny Mohindra-Payne, husband Trevor Payne, Nicola Barding, Next store manager at Telford Forge branch; daughter Yasmine Payne and Louise Tongue, staff nurse
In front of Snowdrop Millennium Chemotherapy Suite in Deanesly Centre, from left, Sunny Mohindra-Payne, husband Trevor Payne, Nicola Barding, Next store manager at Telford Forge branch; daughter Yasmine Payne and Louise Tongue, staff nurse

Sunny Mohindra-Payne took on The Wrekin, which has a peak at 1,335 feet - despite being unable to walk just two weeks beforehand - in aid of New Cross Hospital.

She raised £3,455.11 for the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust Charity, the charitable arm of the trust which runs the city hospital, after conquering the sizeable hill.

The challenge by the 48-year-old was to thank those who looked after her on the Snowdrop Millennium Chemotherapy Suite in Deanesly Centre, and Durnall Unit.

And it was a real family affair too, as Sunny was joined by 35 of her family, friends and work colleagues, including husband Trevor, 52, daughters Yasmine, 27, and Anisa, 26, and son Kyan, 14, on the two-mile walk, which took around an hour and 20 minutes to complete.

Sunny, who manages the Next clothing store in Bentley Bridge, Wednesfield, and lives in Wolverhampton, was joined by her counterpart at the Telford Forge branch Nicola Barding, who helped organise the event and made it a real ‘work social’.

She said: "I didn’t think I’d be able to do it because two weeks before it, I couldn’t walk, but with the aid of sticks and with Trevor’s arm around me, I managed it.

“The doctors and nurses deserve this donation because they have been amazing to me and that’s what has got me through this. It’s quite daunting when you come into hospital for cancer treatment, but they make you feel so comfortable and confident.

“The store managers wanted to do something for me and then they asked me to choose a charity, so I asked for it to be for the people who had looked after me because they do such a great job.”

Nicola, 39, from Codsall, said: “Sunny is a really loved colleague and friend at Next and when we found out she was poorly we wanted to do something to show how much we care for her and support her.

“We came up with the idea of a walk up The Wrekin because we thought it would be a fun thing to do as a group of store managers and it quickly escalated to include Sunny’s family and friends.

“It’s fantastic that we were able to raise this sum of money for such a worthy cause. We’re looking forward to having Sunny coming back to work soon.”

After being diagnosed on Valentine’s Day 2022 when she was referred following the discovery of a lump, Sunny had the tissue removed, then underwent chemotherapy, finishing on October 24, the day of Diwali, the festival of light.

Sunny’s recovery will be completed by a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery next month and possibly radiotherapy, and she hopes her health scare and fundraising can raise awareness of breast cancer.

“Since I’ve been diagnosed, some of the ladies at work are being more vigilant in checking themselves, and if what has happened to me helps one person, then it’s a good thing,” she added.

“You never think it can happen to you, but this proves it can. I just ignored it for a bit but I showed it my daughter and she said ‘let’s get you to the doctor’s today’ so we did.

"I would urge everyone to check themselves regularly and if they spot anything, see a doctor.”

Along with her donation, Sunny also treated staff to samosas on her visits for chemotherapy. The money will be split 70-30 in favour of Snowdrop.

Gill Williams, sister on the Snowdrop Millennium Chemotherapy Suite, said: “We’re very grateful for this donation. We’ll make sure this money isn’t just to the benefit of staff but for the patients as well.

“We recognise that no one wants to come to hospital, so when they come here, they realise it’s not all doom and gloom and we try to give them the best patient experience possible. The patients make it easier for us as well because they’re so lovely.”

Amanda Winwood, the RWT Charity development manager, added: “We’re delighted to see Sunny is recovering from cancer and are full of praise for her efforts in doing the walk so soon after her treatment. We’re also really grateful for her generous donation.”

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