Here she shares why…
“Running the London Marathon to raise money for Hospice in the Weald is a huge privilege, and something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Two years ago, my Dad was admitted to the Hospice as an end of life patient. It was undoubtedly going to be an extremely challenging and painful time. I didn’t fully appreciate how lucky we were to have the Hospice and all its incredible facilities until afterwards.
Dad had been visiting the Hospice for a year or so before he died, making the most of the services offered. All year he benefitted from counselling, art therapy, massage, reflexology; the list goes on! These incredible resources were invaluable to Dad: they allowed him to talk about his fears and worries about dying in a safe environment. His counsellor was just brilliant. She was unreservedly kind and understanding, even making time to visit him when he was an In-Patient and needed it the most.
After his death, our whole family was offered counselling services for free, which I personally made great use of. In my last year at University, I was struggling to manage my grief whilst completing my finals and applying for jobs. My counsellor, Joanne, always made time for me: providing me with resources and advice, but also helping me to accept my pain and allow myself to grieve. I would not have made it through that time without her.
The way that Dad was cared for whilst he was in the Hospice changed my life. He had been in and out of hospitals since I was 12 years old and as a result, clinical environments terrified me. I thought the Hospice would be the same. Instead, Dad spent his last days in a beautiful setting, with access to a peaceful garden straight out of his room. Volunteers played his favourite Bob Dylan songs on the guitar for him, provided fresh flowers for his room and offered massages, Reiki and refreshments at any time. My whole perspective on what it means to care for someone changed. I was inspired by the team of Hospice staff, who saw Dad as a person, not a problem; listening and responding to his requests and our anxious queries.
“I am running the London Marathon not just in memory of my Dad, but for all the patients and families whose lives would undoubtedly be much worse off without the Hospice.”
After Dad died, I decided that I wanted to look for a job that helped make clinical environments a better place for patients and families. I took up a position working for an NHS hospital charity for a year before deciding to become a healthcare assistant. I now work in a community nursing team for Kent Community NHS Foundation Trust. I visit many end of life patients who have also been supported by the Hospice in one way or another.
I am working towards studying postgraduate medicine and dedicating my career to healthcare. I know that the experiences I had in the Hospice will shape my future career in a very significant way. I am determined to raise as much money as possible to ensure that people like my Dad, and families like mine, can have the same support as we did. I am running the London Marathon not just in memory of my Dad, but for all the patients and families whose lives would undoubtedly be much worse off without the Hospice.
Above all, I want to raise this money to say thank you to this fantastic charity and for all they have done for my family.”