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Walk to honour an uncle

SARAH ROBERTS
Last updated 05:00 20/02/2014
Anna Loren
Sarah Smith
PAYING TRIBUTE: Manukau Courier chief reporter Anna Loren is remembering her uncle by doing the Totara Hospice Sunrise Walk.

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A walk in the park is Anna Loren's way of thanking those who cared for her uncle in his last days.

The Manukau Courier's chief reporter will be putting on her trainers for the Totara Hospice Sunrise Walk on March 30.

When her uncle Gary Skilling was given the devastating news that he only had two weeks to live, all he wanted was his family around him.

"My uncle was really kind, very quiet, but had a great sense of humour. Family was the most important thing in his life," Anna says.

Gary, a Wattle Downs resident, was diagnosed with a rare form of malignant meningitis.

Cancer cells spread rapidly throughout his body. Later they entered his blood vessels and travelled to his brain.

Just a week after his diagnosis Gary didn't recognise his family and his personality had completely changed.

The 53-year-old died in Totara Hospice South Auckland surrounded by his family on October 20 last year.

"Hospice cared for my uncle but they also looked after all of us too," Anna says.

"My auntie was able to go home and get some sleep every so often.

"It's a place where families can be with their loved ones and people can pass peacefully."

Anna has been in training for the Sunrise Walk by tramping her favourite beaches.

Family members are planning to join her at the Botanic Gardens on March 30.

The Manukau Courier, part of Fairfax Media's Suburban Newspapers group, is the official media partner of the Sunrise Walk for Hospice.

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- Manukau Courier

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