A team of 14 keen supporters are in training to take part in the Virgin London Marathon 2016 to raise funds for St Elizabeth Hospice.
Sunday 24 April 2016 will see the 36th London Marathon take place, with over 35,000 people expected to take on the 26.2 mile route around the iconic landmarks of London.
Matthew Holliday received one of the hospice’s gold bond places and is running and raising funds in memory of his Dad.
Matthew said: “I’m running the London Marathon in memory of my Dad, David Holliday, who spent his last days in St Elizabeth Hospice. The standard of care and the compassion shown by the hospice staff was incredible. My family will always be indebted to the amazing people who made him as comfortable as possible and gave us unwavering support and advice.
“I’m very proud to represent the hospice at the London Marathon and I’m looking forward to the race and seeing all the other hospice runners cross the line!”
Nick Miller also received a hospice gold bond place, and is running the Marathon with his friend Rodney Davis, who got a place in the ballot.
Nick said: “In July 2013 I sadly lost my Auntie Maria at the age of just 49 after a long battle with cancer. The care and support Maria and the family received at St Elizabeth Hospice left the family in complete admiration of the service that was provided and the incredible people providing it. Maria was given the chance to pass with dignity, content in the knowledge that her young family were being looked after.
“Inspired by this, I have set myself a huge challenge and entered the Virgin London Marathon 2016, with the aspiration of raising awareness of St Elizabeth Hospice’s vital work, and as much money as possible, to ensure it can continue to provide for others the remarkable services that meant so much to my family.”
Also joining on a gold bond places is Matt Carter, who will be running in memory of his dad. Matt said: “I feel very privileged and honoured to be running the London Marathon 2016 on behalf of St Elizabeth Hospice; I will be running in memory of my dad who sadly passed away after his battle with cancer came to an end.
“St Elizabeth Hospice will always be close to my heart, all the money I can raise will go to the hospice to say a big thank you for the amazing work that the nurses and staff did to make my dad feel as comfortable as they could in the remaining days of his life, and for the continued work that the hospice does supporting and caring for people like my dad on a daily basis.”
Julia Day will also be running with a gold bond place in memory of her granny Betty, along with a number of other friends and relatives who have used hospice services. Julia said: “The hospice is close to my heart because my dear granny Betty was cared for until she died from cancer and I can remember coming into the hospice a lot as a teenager, I still remember the garden and the lovely staff!
“My friend’s brother-in-law passed away and his mum suggested that I enter the Marathon this year and run in his memory. My friend Joe had his grandad looked after there so well last year, and recently my aunty Maureen needed weeks of hospice care which was amazing; so there are many reasons why I am running for the hospice.”
Another gold bond place runner is Sinead O’Halloran who will be taking on the challenge in memory of her dad. Sinead said: “My dad passed away last summer at the age of 54. His time was all too short, five months from diagnosis of a brain tumour to passing away. My decision to raise money for St Elizabeth Hospice is borne out of his experience.
“From the point of diagnosis, all control was lost, the only decision he had left was the place in which he spent his final months. The hospice at home Service allowed my dad to make his own choice; to pass away in the comfort of his own home, surrounded by his family.
“So, I’m putting down a glass of wine long enough to put on some running shoes, in order to raise money so that people like my dad can continue to be given the choice as to where they spend their final moments.”
Dan Jarrold will also be running with a gold bond place in memory of his mum.
Entering the London Marathon on a ballot place is hospice supporter Wendy Hughes who was also a member of the Hospice Team 100; cycling from London to Paris in September 2015, in memory of her husband.
Wendy said: “My husband, Michael, had MS in its severest form. About 12 years ago we were first introduced to St Elizabeth Hospice for some emergency respite when nowhere else could provide for his needs. In 2011 we again found ourselves being supported by the hospice. The hospice became our life line.
“I began running about 10 years ago when I hit my mid-forties. I found it beneficial as “chill out/me time” and gave me space to clear my head. In 2012 I had a ballot place for London Marathon. I fitted in my long training runs whilst my Michael was at day care. He was also cared for at the hospice for the week of the Marathon enabling me to rest, run and recover.
“From 2011 onwards Michael’s health was deteriorating. He was suffering frequent infections and his body was slowly shutting down. I found the hospices “One Call” service to be invaluable. There was always somebody at the end of a phone line to offer advice.
“In February 2013 Michael became unwell, and we were visited by a hospice at home nurse who gently told me this was probably an end of life issue. About 8 days after seeing the hospice at home nurse Michael passed away peacefully at home aged 53. I was able to care for him by myself right up until the final day with the support of the hospice, there when we needed it. I will be forever grateful for the support we received from the hospice. It enabled me to carry on caring for Michael myself and for him to spend his final days at home.
>”Last year I cycled from London to Paris with a team from the hospice. I like to have something to train for and soon after I completed the cycle ride I heard I was lucky enough to have a ballot place for London Marathon again. Exercise is important to me for my physical and mental health and the best motivation to get out there is by raising money for a worthwhile charity! Raising money also gives me a worthwhile purpose as a now redundant carer!”
Also running for the hospice after receiving a ballot place for the London Marathon is Paul Hassall in memory of his dad. Paul said: “5 years ago this year my dad sadly passed away from Cancer and when an opportunity came up that allowed me to say thanks to those that provided care and support him during the more difficult times, I took it.
“There are hundreds excellent charities and causes around, but there are only a few that you will ever have a direct link with. I have visited the hospice, I have seen the work that goes on, I have witnessed the support they give, and it’s great to know that all the generous donations myself and the whole London Marathon Team are receiving will help to allow that to continue and grow to help families across the region when they need it the most.”
Michael Emery also got a place in the ballot, and is running in memory of his grandfather. Michael said: “I’ve always been fascinated by the London Marathon, it has been a goal of mine to run in it since I was about 5 years old. Most years I go out to support friends and family members who are running it and love the atmosphere and sense of community the Marathon creates. I have always been a long distance runner and on my 4th application to the ballot gained a place to run.
“I am fundraising for the hospice primarily because of the excellent care my grandfather received last June. My family have all commented on the excellent work, the wonderful care my grandfather received in his final days and how my grandfather enjoyed his view of the garden from his room. My family cannot thank the hospice enough for what it provided for my grandfather and by running I hope to provide some support as thanks.”
Also running the London marathon is Jack Nicholl, information and insight manager at the hospice. Jack has been training hard for the 2016 event, having been forced to defer from last year after nearly breaking his ankle. Jack said: “I have managed to avoid doing myself a mischief this year, and I’m thrilled to be part of the fantastic group of runners supporting the hospice by running the marathon”.
Also running on a ballot place for the hospice is Julie Shufflebotham; Katie Bowers and Toyah Middlemiss.