Walk Stories

After each Walk for Love, we hear from families who wanted to let us know about their experience. We are so grateful to hear from those willing to share how they benefitted from coming together with the community in support of The Mary Potter Foundation.

For some it was about remembering their loved one; for others, it was about giving back for the care their loved one received.

If you haven’t been to the Walk before, read on – and if you are encouraged by these words come along and experience the Walk for Love yourself, we would love to see you there.

Nathan's Team

It’s been so heart-warming and has made me feel happy

“The community, all these people coming together to not mourn but to celebrate their loved ones, as well as give back to allow other families to receive the same support when they face a similar challenging time. Because of the Walk for Love, there will be a continual flow of new and old families coming together as a singular unit, walking for who they love most.”

After having multiple family members cared for by the Foundation, Nathan and his family started taking part in Walk for Love as a way to honour their memory.

“After completing my first Mary Potter Walk in 2019, I came to realise how many people were going through a similar situation as me. It was almost reassuring, like a sigh of relief that I wasn’t the only one suffering the loss of a loved one.”

For the first couple of years, it was just Nathan and his Mum who participated.

“As time passed more of our family were emotionally ready to join us and take part in the walk. By participating in the walk, it reminded me that we are not alone and the feeling of loss that my family and I are experiencing is a normal part of the grieving process. And that’s what makes this event so special.”

In 2023 Nathan had the idea of getting his school involved in Walk for Love.

“From what was initially just an idea that I had as a kid a few years back, has turned into a wider school community event that many students are keen to be part of.”

Lead by Nathan, the Blackfriars School Community Team far surpassed their fundraising goal and were awarded Highest School’s Fundraiser. Not only this, but the Blackfriars School also hosted a Greatest Shave fundraiser in support of patients and families in care at Mary Potter.

“It’s been so heart-warming and has made me feel happy that a wide range of students across different year levels are as keen on this initiative as much as I am. I have even had several teachers who have been asking me about this year’s walk.”

When asked what his favoruite thing is about Walk for Love, Nathan always brings it back to how it brings so many people together for such a great cause.

“I feel completely and utterly honoured to have been asked to be an ambassador for an event that I count down the days to participate in every single year. Whether that be 7kms, 3kms, 500m, or even getting someone to walk for you, it doesn’t matter; because you are still supporting such a loving and caring initiative, and that’s what is most important.”

Treasured memories of Mum

Ashlee honours her Mum’s memory and raises awareness at Walk for Love

Belinda’s arrival at Mary Potter was an unexpected direction and initially a hard reality to face for her daughter Ashlee. But from the fairy lights at the entry, fresh flowers at every turn and beautiful messages of love, hope and faith embedded into artwork along the halls, it wasn’t long before Belinda, Ashlee and their family felt a warmth that only grew throughout their time at the Hospice.

“From the minute she arrived at Mary Potter Hospice, Mum felt safe, happy and in good hands,” says Ashlee.

“She was treated with kindness, compassion, grace and dignity by everyone at Mary Potter. From the nursing team to volunteers and other staff — everyone was gentle, kind and respectful.”

Ashlee and her family treasure the moments shared and memories created during the seven weeks her mum Belinda spent at Mary Potter.

“We celebrated a number of special occasions that were facilitated by the Hospice either for all patients or just for our family."

“Mum got to share special celebrations with her friends over champagne and nibbles. She delighted in Melbourne Cup high tea celebrations and a visit from a horse! And she relished the bedside facials and hand massages that helped her to relax.”

Every Sunday for 15 years, Belinda enjoyed Sunday night dinners with her family and friends, often over a home cooked meal or pizzas.

“One Sunday the social workers arranged for Sunday pizza night to be held at the Hospice. They took care of everything! Arranged the delivery of pizzas, provided drinks and dessert, bubbles for the kids, and themed the night with Italian decorations."

“We were all able to sit out in the courtyard near Mum’s room and enjoy one last Sunday night family dinner all together. Mum wheeled around with the kids on her lap and it was just like old times — this occasion felt like home away from home.”

Christmas was a special time for Belinda and her family, and so we called on the generosity of our donors to give them one last Christmas together.

“On December 5, ten of us celebrated an early Christmas with Mum in a lush, shaded garden hidden away at the back of the Hospice — it was intimate and private,” says Ashlee.

“At this point we knew Mum was in her final days, so to be able to gather as a family for one last time was incredibly emotional and touching. We all had tears, held Mum’s hand and took family photos."

“Mum enjoyed her hot Christmas lunch with all the trimmings, she watched her beloved grandchildren unwrap presents and chase bubbles, and enjoyed being out in the fresh air one last time.”

Ashlee remembers, “This day is now one of my fondest memories and we are so grateful for the Foundation to have made this happen”.

Ashlee and her family left Mary Potter with a heart full of memories and arms full of mementoes that her Mum created while in the Hospice.

“It’s obvious that Mary Potter ensure that each person’s end of life care is specialised and of the highest standard.”

It is you, our kind and generous donors, that make this extra level of care possible. You give people like Belinda and her family the opportunity to spend quality time together and create treasured memories. Thank you.

In 2022, Ashlee participated in her first Walk for Love – Walking for Love and for her Mum.

“We had 52 friends and family who walked in ‘Team Bella’ to honour Mum and help raise vital funds to support the Mary Potter Hospice and Foundation.”

“The Walk for Love is a great opportunity to honour your loved one, surround yourself with other people who have been impacted by the Hospice, and give back to an organisation that is full of generosity.

In 2023, Ashlee’s team of 56, Team Bella raised $4,250.

“Mary Potter Hospice was home for Mum and our family for seven weeks, and now holds a special place in our hearts. I am in debt to the Hospice for the comfort they gave Mum and for their hospitality towards us.”

Walking for Jenny

More than just a hospital, Mary Potter was like home for Jenny’s family

“As soon as we got to the Hospice, we could take a step back and spend time with Mum without worrying about the care she was receiving. This was important because it meant we got to spend that precious time as family, not as caregivers.”

Following Jenny’s passing in 2020, her family made the easy decision to take part in the Walk for Love — to walk for Jenny and other loved ones, and to give something back to the place that has given them so much.

“As soon as we heard about the Walk for Love we knew we wanted to be a part of it,”

Almost 30 years earlier, Jenny’s father passed away at Mary Potter Hospice — igniting the family’s interest in supporting the Hospice and everything it offers to families in their care.

“It’s a beautiful way to honour someone you love and keep their memory alive, says Natasha. “It’s a peaceful place, and everyone at the Walk for Love shares a common bond.”

The family has credited the Walk for Love for turning a hard part of their lives into a relaxing and comforting time they could spend with family, celebrating Jenny and all she meant to them.

“It wasn’t all sad,” says Natasha. “We walked, talked, shared happy memories, did activities and laughed a lot. It was healing.”

“This was important not just for us, but for our extended family who never had the opportunity to say goodbye due to the pandemic restrictions. We were able to come together on such a beautiful and peaceful day. We walked around the Mary Potter Hospice and shared memories of Mum’s time there with our family.”

Jenny loved being outside and the Hospice gave her that freedom and enjoyment. “Mum loved gardening and her roses, so we’d often sit at the front of the Hospice, just talking and watching people pass by,” says Elise. Jenny’s husband, Tony fondly remembers the sheer happiness on Jenny’s face when her beloved fur-grandchild Loki would visit. “Having access to outdoor areas and direct access to her room meant Jenny could spend time with Loki – she loved her fur-grandchild!” But there’s one gift that keeps on giving.

“… at Mary Potter she got to enjoy simple pleasures and we had the opportunity to be together as a family”.

Elise added, “Being part of the Walk for Love was the least we could do to give back to the community and people that gave Mum and us so much.”

Dr Dan’s Story

Walk for Love means different things to everybody, but I like how we share the same unspoken connection

For 12 incredible years, a certain young doctor led team 'Happy Feet' in honour of his father.

Over this time, he recruited a team of friends and colleagues to join him at the event. They have their own stories of grief and loss. Despite busy schedules, they set this day aside to take part and support Mary Potter. 

Dr Dan's beloved father Cang passed away in Mary Potter Hospice in 2009. Dan was very grateful for the loving care given to Cang while he was in the Hospice.

What really meant the world to the family was how their cultural and spiritual beliefs were respected. As Vietnamese Buddhists, they really appreciated the way the Hospice allowed them to carry out their rituals immediately following Cang's death.

It also didn't escape Dan's notice how much his dad had loved the dessert trolley in the Hospice. This led to the decision for Dan to embrace his love of baking, and as part of his fundraising commitment he set up a tiny stall at his first Walk for Love. Dan's mum used to be a pastry chef and soon joined him in baking for the event the following year. 

In 2018 Dan put up a sign on his cake stall saying 'Cang's Cake Stall'. He wanted people to know that this wasn't a commercial business - this was someone honouring the memory of his father by giving back to the Hospice.

"My father worked very hard his whole life and I want to honour that. I want people to know that."

Like father, like son. Dan lives that same work ethic. On the weekend of Walk for Love, Dan would start cooking early on Friday morning, having planned out his baking schedule many weeks in advance and buying all the ingredients himself.

"Everyone who walks has their own story. We all have a connection because of our shared grief. The Walk for Love means different things to everybody, but I like how we share the same unspoken connection."

Past Walk for Love Participants

"It's easy to hide away in your home away from everyone, because that’s just what you feel like doing sometimes. But to get out and do the Walk; it definitely helps. Absolutely. It's amazing."

- Gina

“Together with my family and friends, we prefer to choose a date and do our own walk at a time when we can all get together and share the experience. Unless a thunderstorm is threatening, we are determined to walk rain or shine.”

- Cathryn

“The Walk for Love is one way that I keep Mum’s memory alive. It’s a wonderful opportunity to reconnect and share memories of loved ones with those who knew them best."

- Lisa