A nurse and a physiotherapist from Prospect Hospice, who describe themselves as slow runners, are going to run the London Marathon.
Both Sarah Hawkins and Dorinda Moffatt are taking part in the iconic event on Sunday 3 October to raise funds for the hospice, based in Wroughton. They will be among a record 50,000 participants running on the streets of the capital.
For Sarah, 48 and of Swindon, it will be the first marathon she has ever run and is dedicating it to her father, Tim Keeler, who was cared for by Prospect Hospice.
Until this year Sarah had only run a maximum of three miles, but after being accepted to run the London Marathon earlier this year she began training and runs at Lydiard Park and on the streets of north Swindon.
“This is a huge challenge for me. I have never been a distance runner and never thought I would be able to run 26 miles. I started the Couch to 10km programme and stuck to it rigidly.
“It’s been really hard but thanks to my personal trainer, Frank, and an old school friend Colin who set me a marathon training programme, I’m getting there. I’m a plodder when I run and my goal is to just get over the finish line at the London Marathon. If I finish it between five and six hours I will be over the moon.”
Sarah’s dad, a retired engineer of Swindon, was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in 2017. The Prospect Hospice team supported him and his family in the last year of his life, with advice around pain management and occupational therapy support. He and his wife also used the hospice’s day therapy service. Tim died in the hospice in October 2018, aged 70.
“He had the best care at the end of his life and so did we as a family. The Prospect Hospice team visited him at home and were brilliant, listening to our concerns and putting in place the care and support he needed. When he was admitted to the hospice’s inpatient unit we were all looked after and it is a good memory – the level of care given was amazing.
“I’m raising money for the hospice because it is a charity that is so very close to my heart and I want to make sure I do whatever I can to keep it going to enable more people to benefit from the care it provides.”
Following her dad’s experience of the care he received from the hospice, Sarah, a registered nurse and midwife, was inspired to move into palliative care and she began work at Prospect Hospice as a clinical nurse specialist in April 2019. She works in the Single Point of Contact team taking referrals of patients to the hospice and providing a telephone consultation to triage and assess the needs of patients.
For her colleague Dorinda Moffatt, a specialist physiotherapist who works with patients with neuro-respiratory conditions and frailty, this will be her fourth London Marathon.
“The London Marathon is an incredible event to participate in. The crowds cheer you on and inspire you to keep going and it’s a real feeling of achievement when you cross the finishing line.
“I never set myself a time. I’m quite a slow runner so I focus on the distance rather than the time. I like the endurance aspect of the marathon and I dedicate the miles I run in memory of a patient or someone I knew who has died, such as my mum and dad.”
She began running six years ago when she joined the Swindon Shin Splints running group and completed the Couch to 5km programme.
“Running is really good for you physically and mentally. It makes you feel really good about yourself. It’s appreciating what your body can do, it’s not what it looks like.”
Dorinda, of Wroughton, and her running club friends like to dress up in fun outfits and she will be running the London Marathon in a multi-coloured tutu and a Prospect Hospice T-shirt.
“Dressing up when we run makes it fun. Running should be fun, it shouldn’t be a chore. We look forward to the dressing up as much as the running!”
Dorinda, 42, has raised thousands of pounds over the years for Prospect Hospice through running and other events, including fashion shows.
“A lot of people don’t realise that the hospice is a charity and the care it provides is free. It relies on donations and its income has taken a big hit during the pandemic. We have continued to work during the pandemic by going out to see people in their own homes and caring for people on the inpatient unit at the hospice.”
Dorinda, who has worked for Prospect Hospice for 11 years, added:
“I’ve seen both sides of the work of the hospice, from professionally working with patients and I’ve had family members cared for. There’s no other service like ours; we really put the emphasis on quality of life for patients and what matters to them in the time they have left. The care we give is tailored to each patient. I absolutely love working at Prospect Hospice.”
If you would like to make a donation, please visit Sarah’s JustGiving page.