Isabel Hospice is inviting members of the community to take part in their ‘Step Up for Isabel’ nurse-inspired walking challenge to raise money for the hospice.

The Step Up for Isabel challenge encourages participants to match the incredible number of steps taken by Isabel Hospice nurses during their shifts.

Taking place from January 15 to February 12, 2024, people are challenged to walk 100 miles in one month.

This is equivalent to approximately 8,000 steps per day — the same amount as an Isabel Hospice nurse does on a nine-hour shift.

Leading the way in this challenge are Isabel Hospice’s own clinical staff, who know first-hand how vital the funds raised by this challenge will be to the Welwyn Garden City-based charity which provides free palliative care to patients and their families across eastern Hertfordshire.

Lea van der Niet, Lead Nurse for Isabel Hospice’s Hospice at Home team, expressed her commitment to the challenge.

“By the end of this year, I will have worked at Isabel Hospice for 25 years. Many of those years were spent working in the In-Patient Unit where I used to walk at least 8,000 steps a day. I now work in the community supporting patients at the end of their lives. 

"I'm doing this challenge to support the hospice and raise funds crucial for supporting the vital palliative care services it provides.”

Alison Stirton-Croft, Head of Community Services at Isabel Hospice, is also taking on the 100-mile challenge.

She emphasised the inspiration behind her participation, saying: "Knowing how hard our nurses work and the number of steps they take during their shifts, I thought it would be a really good idea to try and match them."

Alison, a physiotherapist by trade for many years, shared some of the health benefits of taking on the daily 8,000 steps.

"It has a lot of mental health benefits and it helps with your heart fitness, and also it can help you lose weight.”

Sharing how she gets her daily steps in, she said: “I wake up an hour earlier, and manage to get in about 6,500 steps before work, parking a bit further away from the office and taking the stairs.”

The ‘Step Up for Isabel’ challenge is open to everyone, with flexible options to accommodate varying fitness levels. Those who are differently abled are also encouraged to participate, with resources such as seated exercise videos available.

Organiser of the Step Up for Isabel challenge, Holly Nelson said: “No matter your level of fitness or mobility, Isabel Hospice will be on hand with resources and support throughout your walking journey.

“Step Up for Isabel participants will be given online guidance from a professional fitness and wellbeing expert, Kirsten, of Wolf Approach Fitness, and we have partnered with David Lloyd to offer 7-Day passes to their fitness clubs for a heavily discounted price.”

She continued: “Those who raise £50.00 or more for the hospice will receive a branded T-shirt and also be entered into a prize draw!”

Alison added: "It's about setting yourself a target to be more active. When I think about those who I've supported in my career, that perhaps can’t be active or are facing a challenging time and aren't so fortunate to be able to just get up and walk due to their health condition and prognosis, we often take that for granted.”

Individuals interested in joining Lea and Alison in supporting Isabel Hospice by participating in the Step Up for Isabel challenge can sign up at or call 01707 954 850 for more information.

About Isabel Hospice

Isabel Hospice has been providing free palliative care to its patients and their families since 1982.

It provides support and care to people in eastern Hertfordshire who are affected by life-limiting illnesses through its Hospice at Home, In-Patient Unit, Community Team, Living Well with Isabel program, and its Family and Bereavement support service.

Isabel’s services are free of charge to those who need them, but they are not without cost, meaning £7 million must be raised each year to guarantee the future of care for eastern Hertfordshire.