2020 was a tough year for many of us, but probably most challenging for people with long term or terminal illnesses. I felt I needed to do something, just because I could and am able to. I love walking and therefore have decided to partake in an ultra -challenge, walking 100km in 48 hours (12-13 June 2021). I decided to raise money for Hospices of Hope and BELhospice, charities very close to my heart.

Hospices of Hope are celebrating 30 years since they started introducing hospice care, first in Romania, and then in Serbia, a country of my birth. They now support the leading palliative care network in southeast Europe, and their dedication to this cause is worth celebrating and acknowledging!

I was introduced to their work about 15 years ago, and little did I know that they and BELhospice, their main partner in Serbia, will play a crucial role in my mum’s battle against cancer, which she lost in 2015. Serbia, unfortunately, still does not have a hospice, but the work and support BELhospice provides to affected patients, and their families, is invaluable and immensely important– I know from the personal experience.

BELhospice is the only charity organisation in Serbia dedicated to the provision of palliative care for terminally ill cancer patients – and all their services are free of charge for patients and their families. I cannot stress enough how their support and guidance helped me, my brother, and our families in the face of an absolute personal tragedy and loss. The care and love they provided my mum with, in her last weeks and days, was something that has stayed with me ever since, and taking up this challenge in the name of these two amazing organisations is the least I can do to show my appreciation and say – THANK YOU!

Natasha Kocsis