The loving wife and family of a Conwy dad have raised almost £13,000 in aid of a charity close to their heart.
Nia Rowlands, 33, originally from Llanrwst, felt inspired by the care her husband received at St David’s Hospice and focused on giving something back.
Father of two, Simon Rowlands, who was a car sales executive in North Wales, was first diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2009. Sadly after many operations and moments of hope, in March 2014 he was told it was terminal, confirming there was no more treatment that could help.
Nia Rowlands, a primary school teacher at Ysgol Y Felinheli said: “Simon was a larger than life character – so happy and full of life. He could light up a room.
“It was so unfair. He was having seizures, he lost his sight as the tumour had now wrapped itself around the optic nerve, then his speech.
It is a cruel disease. It robs you of every bit of independence, bit by bit”.
Simon was admitted to St David’s Hospice as an inpatient, after a short time attending the Day Care Unit. As with many, Nia feared the word hospice and they were reluctant to visit at first.
Nia explained: “I was told it was the best place for Simon. I had to make the decision; but the unknown made the idea of a Hospice a scary place.
“Once settled at the Hospice, they stabilised him and he felt safe, secure and very relaxed.
“Prior to the Hospice, I was providing 24hr care. The Hospice gave us quality time with him, it took away the stress and worry.
“Our family were so looked after, the care was not just for Si, everyone was made to feel welcome. Many people associate hospices with older people, but it’s really not true.
“The en-suite, private rooms are home from home and we could go in to the gardens to be outside with our children. We decorated the walls with photos of the family and Si’s favourite Manchester City kit. The Hospice really will do anything they can for you.”
Simon received hospice care at St David’s Hospice for over a month and sadly died in August 2014. In November, three months after; Nia completed the Conwy Half marathon in his memory – this was the start of the fundraising efforts.
Her fundraising, and that of family and friends, has continued since then and led to raising £12,806.68 for the charity.
The 33-year-old, who now lives in Llandudno Junction, said: “The half marathon was my biggest achievement, completing it in two hours.
“Simon loved to play golf and was a member of the North Wales Golf Club since 18, playing right up until he lost his sight. I told Simon about the idea of an annual Golf Memorial day, which he thought was great. Thanks to the members the first golf competition raised over £7300”
Nia and the family went on to take part in as many events as possible over the year including;- the Hospice dragon boat challenge, the Snowdon marathon, Great Orme and Dawn walks and Colour Runs.
Nia plans to organise another golf Memorial Day for this year after she performs with her local drama group in the London’s West End show, Real Women.
Wendy Clark, Fundraising Manager at St David’s Hospice, said:
“We want to thank Nia and her family for her continued support to the charity. The funds raised will go directly towards the care of our patients at St David’s and we are all so grateful.”
For further information about St David’s Hospice and their next fundraising events, such as the Colour Run go to: www.stdavidshospice.org.uk