Tuesday, 23 April 2024
Tuesday, 23 April 2024

Marathon runner doubles her target for St Barnabas Hospice

On 16th April, Lauren Wood from Lincoln laced up her trainers to run the Manchester Marathon in support of St Barnabas after the hospice charity cared for her mother.

To thank the hospice staff for caring for her beloved mother, Carolyn, Lauren wanted to raise £500. She has absolutely smashed that target, with her JustGiving page currently standing at double – an incredible £1,000.

Carolyn was diagnosed with breast cancer in the mid-2010s, which she bravely fought. In 2019 she suffered from headaches and thought there might be a problem with her vision; she visited her optician, who sent her straight to the hospital.

There, she was told she had a brain tumour, which was operated on, and radiotherapy followed. Later that year, she became ill again and was hospitalised for weeks before the family received the dreadful news that the cancer had spread to her liver.

Lauren said:

“Mum had days or weeks to live and said she didn’t want to go through treatment again. This was when St Barnabas stepped in. That very day, my father and I visited the Inpatient Unit in Lincoln to decide whether that would be a good fit for her, and we were so pleased. The room available to her was quiet and private, and many nurses were on hand.

“Mum was moved to the Hospice that night, and I travelled in the ambulance with her. They washed her, helped her wear her own clothes and made her comfortable. In the hospital, Mum hadn’t been drinking, and her mouth looked sore and uncomfortable. Immediately the St Barnabas nurses helped her with a mouth-cleaning kit. She looked much more peaceful and pain-free after that.

“They were able to manage Mum’s pain and also cared for us. They set up beds in her room so we could stay over without visiting restrictions. We received endless cups of tea and coffee, and food was always provided if we needed it. No one was rushed; all the nurses were always in good spirits and loved finding out about Mum’s life. They would talk to her even though she wasn’t conscious, as they said she could hear us, and we’d tell them funny stories about what she was like.”

Carolyn passed away on 6th October 2019 after a three-day stay at the Inpatient Unit, surrounded by her family. Lauren has been supporting St Barnabas ever since and signed up for the Manchester Marathon after having enjoyed running for many years.

Marathon runner doubles her target for St Barnabas Hospice
Lauren hugging family during the marathon, and Lauren’s mum Carolyn.

She said:

“I signed up and told St Barnabas I was running for them; the team have been brilliant. There are a lot of check-ins from them along the way, with fundraising and training tips, as well as invites to group training with other people who are fundraising for them.

“I was invited to a Facebook group for fundraisers, which is great to keep each other going and where we can share our stories and progress. I received a goodie bag with St Barnabas merch, including a running top, water bottle and other items. This way, I never forgot what I was running for!

“The week before the marathon, I was feeling nervous but excited. In that week, St Barnabas had stepped into our lives again, providing care at home for my father-in-law, Graham, in his last days with us. Race day was very emotional, and I spent much of the run with a lump in my throat. The best part for me was spotting my family cheering me on and stopping for a hug to keep me going.

“The crowds were amazing, shouting out the names on the runners’ tops and children holding their hands out for a high five. It really got me through that midway struggle! There were bands, DJs and choirs all the way around to spur you on. Although it was tough on my body, I loved it and want to do another marathon for St Barnabas!”

St Barnabas encourages running enthusiasts to choose the Hospice as their charity to support when signing up for marathons this year. If you are still looking for a challenge, the charity has spaces available for the iconic Berlin Marathon, taking place on 24th September in the historic city. To find out more and to book your space, please visit: https://stbarnabashospice.co.uk/events/berlin-marathon/.

Lauren said:

“Mum loved shopping and always picked things up she thought other people would like; we would often go around St Barnabas charity shops and hunt for a bargain. My mum lit up any room you usually heard before you saw her! I miss her a lot, but I know what a difference St Barnabas’ care made to her last few days, and I am forever grateful.”

St Barnabas also offers exhilarating once-in-a-lifetime adventures, such as skydiving and wing walking, where you are strapped into a seat on the wings of an aeroplane and walking over fire or LEGO.

If these challenges are too extreme, there are many other ways to support the hospice this summer, including hosting a coffee morning or Pub Quiz by volunteering or shopping in its 25 Lincolnshire-wide shops or online. To find out all the ways you can support St Barnabas, please visit: www.StBarnabasHospice.co.uk/Fundraising.

St Barnabas supports more than 12,000 people across Lincolnshire with life-limiting or terminal illnesses each year by offering free, high-quality, compassionate end-of-life care and support to patients, their families, and carers.

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