John’s story

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"I’m taking part in the London Marathon 2016 and running to raise money for St Clare. I was asked what it was that inspired me to take part in the marathon, which made me think."
John and his dad at St Clare Hospice

Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to run 26 miles. Even with my intense training in full flow it seems an impossible distance. But I have no doubt that I’ll finish, it’s just one of those things that will happen. I’m not being boastful or big-headed, I don’t actually know how I’ll do it, but I know will.”

“I think this fundamental confidence comes from my own personal experience of St Clare. A kind of unspoken deal that was made the first time I walked through its doors you see. It was an odd feeling, but I instantly knew that the hospice and its staff were not only going to help Mum but also me. Previously I’d thought that hospices were there just for the patients, but this just isn’t the case.”

“That was 12 years ago, back in 2004, when my Mum died in room 3. She’d been diagnosed with an aggressive stomach cancer and her stay at the hospice was short.”

“In October 2014 my father was diagnosed with lung cancer that quickly spread to his brain. He moved to St Clare and within 3 weeks of the diagnosis Dad had died in room 4. Both situations were devastating but made bearable due entirely to the staff at the hospice.”

“As inevitable as a death is, its finality makes it not quite like any other situation. Certainly for those left, the experience is like coming to a jolting stop whilst everything else carries on in the world as normal. I can remember driving to Mum’s funeral watching people carry on their everyday lives thinking ‘Don’t they realise Mum’s dead?’

“But this is the extraordinary thing about St Clare.  They are only concerned with life, not death. The staff, nurses, doctors and volunteers are completely focused on life and making it better – fuller, funnier and more positive than it could be.”

“Whether it’s the life of the person who is ill, their family or friends or anyone else affected by their condition, it’s all about life, all very positive. And the irony of the hospice’s name is that the place is run not by ‘saints’ but by normal people, with normal problems, but when they walk through its doors they focus on unconditional positivity.”

“What inspired me to run the marathon?
Every single one of the staff and volunteers at St Clare.”

“They are all inspirational. They are the reason why I’m confident I’ll be able to complete the miles, because, when I first walked through those doors 12 years ago they each made an unspoken deal with me to make my Mum’s life, Dad’s life, and my life, as good as possible until the very end.”

– John

If you have been inspired to take part in one of our many running events then check out the Challenge Events page ForwardArrow_15x15

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