‘She would’ve wanted me to carry on’ – £63,000 raised in Zoe Goddard’s name for St Elizabeth Hospice
- Credit: Archant
Brave Zoe Goddard gave until she could give no more – even in death her legacy lives on.
Inspired by Zoe’s kindness and compassion, her family have raised more than £60,000 for St Elizabeth Hospice which cared for her in Suffolk.
Mother Wendy Goddard said it was a fitting tribute for a daughter who had devoted so much of her life to others. Even after being diagnosed with cervical cancer, Zoe, from Stowupland, kept fundraising until just days before her death aged 27.
“Zoe always thought of others,” said Wendy. “She would have wanted me to carry on.”
In the months following Zoe’s death in September last year, her friends and family have rallied behind the cause.
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From coffee mornings and charity bingo competitions to marathon sponsorship and a five-figure offer from an Ipswich business, they are on course to have raised £63,000 for St Elizabeth Hospice.
In recognition of their efforts, Wendy has been invited to open the charity’s Midnight Walk fundraiser in Ipswich on Saturday when she will give a speech to the participants setting off from Cornhill. Wendy says the hospice’s support “gave us the opportunity to be mum and daughter” before Zoe died. “They did everything they could to help us,” she added. “They were fantastic.”
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Zoe, who worked as a nanny at Busy Bees Nursery in Stowmarket, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in December 2015. She underwent 40 sessions of chemotherapy and radiotherapy and was given the “all clear” on May 20 last year – the date of this year’s Midnight Walk.
But the following month, on Father’s Day, Zoe was told the cancer had returned. She suffered “massive haemorrhages” and spent two weeks in intensive care before moving to the hospice in August for palliative care.
“She never gave up, she was never frightened and she never asked ‘why me?’,” said Wendy.
“She just took it all in her stride – she was remarkable.”
Even in her final weeks, Zoe remained upbeat, describing a chance meeting with her teenage hero Peter Andre as a “dream come true”.
Following her daughter’s death, Wendy has tried to keep Zoe’s memory alive through the fundraising work she pursued so passionately. “If she could do it up until days before she passed away then I need to carry it on,” she said. “She was so brave.”
Fundraising highlights include Zoe’s friend Gemma Porch raising around £2,000 by running the London Marathon and an offer from Ipswich insurers Willis, which could total £50,000 by the end of the year.
Last month, Wendy organised local schools to take part in a “Welly Wednesday” when pupils made donations to wear wellington boots to school and take part in fun activities.
Daniel Pettitt, headteacher at Freeman Primary School in Stowupland, which Zoe attended as a child, said it was a pleasure to take part.
“Both Zoe and Wendy are extraordinary people who have raised money for a fantastic cause,” he added. “The hospice is there for people when they hit rock bottom and so anything that can help is a fantastic cause and we were only too happy to support them.”
Across all the schools involved, Wendy says the initiative raised around £1,000 for the hospice. Event its mascot “Woolly the Sheep”got involved on the day.
Zoe’s friend Danielle Caile said she was amazed by Wendy’s efforts. “It shows a mother’s true love for her beautiful daughter to be able to continue fundraising in Zoe’s memory,” she added.
Saturday’s Midnight Walk is hoped to raise more funds in Zoe’s memory, with many friends and family signed up among the thousands taking part.
Zoe had been invited to be bridesmaid at her cousin Jessica Goddard’s wedding, which is in July. Jessica and other bridesmaids will be taking part in the walk in memory of their absent friend.
Felicity Rook, head of fundraising at St Elizabeth Hospice, said: “Wendy’s been an inspiration and has been a driving force behind all the fundraising she and her friends have done for us. We’re incredibly grateful for everything Wendy has done for us and continues to do to raise money so we can continue to help other people like Zoe.”
Last year’s Midnight Walk raised around £150,000 for the hospice after 2,200 neon-clad fundraisers to took the streets of Ipswich.
Visit here for details of the walk