Last year, just before the pandemic reached the UK, Max Woosey’s parents were helping to care for a neighbor, Rick Abbott, who had terminal cancer. They came to appreciate how vital it was that the local hospice in North Devon was able to help their neighbor remain in his own home, which was his final wish. Just before he died, Abbott gave Max a tent and made the 11 year old promise to go have an adventure.
As the pandemic lockdowns took hold, Max realized that fundraising for hospice care had stopped and the idea for his adventure began. Max began his sponsored camp-out at the start of the UK’s first lockdown in March 2020 because he knew that the hospice would need support as all fundraising activity essentially stopped overnight. Now known to millions as ‘The Boy in the Tent’ – Max has spent the 500th night of his charity camp-out in what has been an incredible year for him.
His determination has inspired people from across the globe to donate to his Just Giving page, which has so far raised more than $770,000 for North Devon Hospice. While Max has had to battle with everything the British weather could throw at him, leaving him wet and cold on many a night, he has also had some once-in-a-lifetime experiences. While his adventure was spurred by tragedy Max said “I didn’t realise it would last as long as it did, but I’m so happy with the money that has been raised for the hospice, and the experiences I’ve had along the way have been awesome.”
Max’s mom, Rachael Woosey, said that the last 500 days have been life-changing for the family.
“It has been a whole other world. It started off as my little 10-year-old boy camping out in the garden for a few nights and hoping to raise money for the local hospice. None of us can really believe what has happened since. There have been so many exciting opportunities for Max along the way. We’re so proud of how he has kept his feet on the ground and taken everything in his stride because the attention at times would have been a lot to cope with. I’ve said to him on numerous occasions that he doesn’t have to stay outside anymore and that he has already achieved something special, but he always says no. He wanted to carry on because he never lost sight of why he was doing this, and he always wanted to raise more money for the hospice.”
Jo Dedes, director of care at North Devon Hospice said “Max is a genuine superstar, and the difference he has made this year is just incredible. This has been a worrying time for charities. It still is because people rely on North Devon Hospice during the most difficult times, but we have had 18 months where fundraising activities have been ground to a halt. “So, to have Max step forward and raise such an incredible amount has had a real impact. It meant we could carry on caring without missing a beat, without having to cut any of the care we provide.”