“Hope Run 2015” in Klaipėda was dedicated to the memory of the first British ambassador to independent Lithuania Michael Peart.
David Holliday, Aldona Kerpytė, Christopher Peart and British delegation. Photo Nijolė Raudytė.

On Sunday, 17 May, over 4,000 gathered to take part in the annual Hope Run through the streets of Klaipėda organised by the St Francis Cancer Help and Support Centre. All the runners and walkers paid a starting fee to take part and were given tee shirts, numbers and badges.

These donations are particularly important as they make it possible for the Cancer Centre to give psychological, health promotion and spiritual help to cancer patients and their loved ones free of charge. The same happens in many other countries where people of goodwill take part in similar events and donate their time and money in order to allow others to receive this valuable help. Just in the last year the Centre had 2070 patients and their carers who received over 2700 treatments and services.

This year’s Hope Run was dedicated to the memory of Michael Peart who passed away on 2 April. Michael was the first British ambassador to Lithuania after independence. He was a patron of the St Francis Cancer Centre and before he died, he asked his son Christopher to come to Klaipėda and take part in the Hope Run in order to raise money for the Centre in Michael’s name. The Rotary Club of Sherborne in England, organised Christopher’s appeal through the Just Giving website and he has raised the incredible sum of 27,000 Euros (For more information see here)

Christopher completed the 10 km run in a very creditable time of 51 minutes. We were delighted that his mother Helena and a large group of friends and relatives, mostly from Sherborne in the county of Dorset, accompanied Christopher.

This year the participants donated more money than last year by buying tee shirts and paying an entrance fee for the Run. This alone raised the sum of 18,200 euros. David Holliday, the former British defence attaché, who worked under Michael Peart at the British Embassy in Vilnius, received donations from his friends by using the same Just Giving website as Christopher Peart in England and raised the sum of 13,000 euros. This form of fund raising has been used in the UK for several years, but is new to Lithuania and, as yet, untried.

Aldona Kerpytė, the director of the St Francis Cancer Centre wishes to say a sincere “Thank you”. “To all of you – fellow workers and generous donors. On behalf of the staff in the Centre, the cancer hospital and our team of volunteers, I thank you for your help in raising the spirits and allowing us to continue offering our services free of charge to those on the cancer journey. Our lives need to be filled with many colours to keep away the dark clouds. The support of friends and loved ones is stronger than any medicine and overcomes our fears and pain. We thank every single one of you who stand united with us in our work and we wish you God’s blessing in your lives.”

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