Art teacher and mum of three, Sophie Garwood, has completed the ultimate HIIT fundraising challenge with a gruelling 4-hour high-intensity workout in memory of her mother, Rosie Garwood.
Streaming live from her lounge in Shoreham-by-Sea on Saturday 16th May, Sophie was joined online by over one hundred friends, family members and onlookers from around the world, many of who took part in the fitness session and made a donation to St Barnabas House.
The event was held on what would have been her mother’s 66th birthday weekend and an incredible £4,215 was raised for the hospice who cared for Rosie during her short battle with cancer.
Having suffered from pains in her side, which were initially put down to IBS, Rosie was diagnosed with an aggressive form of neuroendocrine cancer in December 2019. When she and her family were told that the cancer had spread from her bowel to her liver and no further treatment was available, Sophie says it “came as a massive shock”.
“My lovely mother was only 65 when she died very suddenly on 15 January 2020. It literally felt like the world fell apart. She was a wonderfully talented, intelligent and kind woman with an amazing sense of humour. She was my best friend and I miss her every moment of the day.
“Dealing with her sudden loss, and then grieving during the lockdown has meant it’s been a terribly hard time. I so miss the support of my friends and family, just meeting for a chat or having a cuddle, but I understand that this time is difficult for everyone. It’s just been so hard to grieve properly and life feels so lonely without my Mum in it.
“My husband and I have three young children who adored their Gaga, and none of us knew what to do with ourselves at first. So, we decided to start doing exercise together and share our work outs on a YouTube channel to help keep ourselves and others sane, fit and positive whilst stuck at home.”
It was whilst exercising that Sophie came up with the fundraising challenge which she decided to hold on the weekend of her mother’s birthday.
“I would have loved nothing more than to be celebrating Mum’s birthday with her. But instead, I decided to do something special for her and help raise money for St Barnabas as they did so much to ensure her life was as comfortable as it could be for the short time she had left.
“I would have done a sponsored walk, or jumped out of a plane, but with lockdown I’ve had to think outside the box.”
During the four-hour HIIT challenge, Sophie was spurred on by messages of support and says it made her feel “so close to friends and family who I hadn’t seen for weeks because of lockdown.”
For the last hour of the challenge, Sophie was joined by her husband, Chris, whose support she says “I couldn’t have coped without.”
“I found the challenge tough mentally rather than physically and when I finished the four hours I just broke down with the emotion of it all. I’m still coming to terms with the loss of my wonderful mum and there are so many different feelings to process.
“She was so loved and had so much to live for. Her four grandchildren Lenny, Rudi, Ottilie and Kimball adored her as did her friends and family.
“My Dad, Steve, has been so strong, as has my brother Tom and his wife Sophie. I can’t wait for us all to be able to be together in the future so we can give mum a proper send off and just be there for each other.
“Mum will forever live on through us, and I’m just so happy to have done something positive for her.”
It’s not too late to show you support and make a donation via Sophie’s JustGiving page.