"It gives children great memories and hope."
Eloise first travelled to Lourdes at Easter with HCPT as a child when she was 14. That first trip inspired her to return as a helper. Find out what makes HCPT's pilgrimages so special for her.
"My mum is friends with Michèle the leader of Group 86 (Bury St Edmunds) so I got to know a little about HCPT through that. I'd helped them out at a few fundraising events, and had it in the back of my mind that I might travel to Lourdes with them one day. I then became ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which meant I had lots of time off school. Michèle suggested it might be a good time for me to go to Lourdes.
"I was worried about the trip initially, as I didn't know what to expect. Michèle explained it all to me, and sold it to me as a dream trip! It more than lived up to that! My helpers were not a lot older than me, which made them really easy to relate to. It was also really good to see the younger children in the group grow in so many ways during the week. The whole experience gave me a different perspective on life, to see so many good people doing good things for those that travelled with them.
"What surprised me most was the love and the pure warmth. I had the best week of my life. I realised I wanted to give back to the group. I was given the opportunity to come back as a young helper. I wanted to share the amazing experience I had of feeling loved, and feeling so special for that one week. I'd been given that bit of hope for the future.
"Having become more involved with HCPT I realise the massive amount of organisation, preparation, fundraising and training that goes into the week away. Being a helper with HCPT is amazing, and such a responsibility. As the needs of the children in our particular group are not of a medical nature, I get to spend lots of time with all of them. We really give the children some great memories and hope."
Interested in joining an HCPT pilgrimage as a helper? Find your nearest HCPT Group and get involved!