Chorley Age UK worker takes on Tough Mudder Full in memory of her dad

Mellissa Hickey and Graham Szymanski completed Tough Mudder Full in memory of her dad John
Mellissa Hickey and Graham Szymanski completed Tough Mudder Full in memory of her dad John

A charity worker has proved she’s made of tough stuff after completing a 12-mile obstacle course in memory of her dad.

Mellissa Hickey, who works for Age UK, took on the Tough Mudder Full challenge in Skipton to raise funds for St Catherine’s Hospice in honour of her dad John Hickey, who died of lung cancer in April, aged 77.

Mellissa Hickey with her dad John

Mellissa Hickey with her dad John

John, also from Chorley, attended day therapy at St Catherine’s for around 16 weeks and accessed the care and support of the hospice’s specialist doctors and nurses during his visits. Whilst there, he enjoyed spending time in the art room and socialising with other patients.

Shortly before her dad’s death, Mellissa had already started training for Tough Mudder Full with her partner Graham Szymanski.

The 38-year-old of Chorley, said: “I was training for six months, doing lots of outdoor running and weights to build my upper body strength. I also watched my diet and cut out bread to make sure I was fit for the challenge.

“I managed 24 of the 27 obstacles – I’d never done anything like this before and it was a fantastic experience; the atmosphere was brilliant.

Mellissa Hickey with one of her paintings her dad John did at St Catherine's Hospice

Mellissa Hickey with one of her paintings her dad John did at St Catherine's Hospice

“I feel like I did my dad proud.

“He really enjoyed his visits to St Catherine’s.

“It got him out of the house, and he took part in arts and crafts activities. He did some paintings while he was there, which are very special to us.

“He enjoyed being creative and he was very happy there. I came along with him once and everyone was so friendly.”

St Catherine’s fund-raiser Emma Jacovelli said: “St Catherine’s supports people with life-shortening illnesses and their loved ones in so many ways; from those cared for on our inpatient unit, to people who access the care of our Clinical Nurse Specialists in their own homes, and patients like John who attend day therapy each week.

“We really couldn’t continue to provide our specialised palliative and end-of-life care without the continued, amazing support of our communities, so we’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to Mellissa and Graham for taking on Tough Mudder Full and helping to raise vital funds for the hospice.”