Runner Feature - Gaynor Barlow RunThrough Running Club LondonI’ve worked at the hospice for nearly 8 years now and wanted to do something to give back for all the support the hospice has given me and my family over the past 10 months – it has been a very emotional and difficult time and the hospice has been there for me and my family.

I recently ran a 5k at the RunThrough Chase the Sun Heaton Park event on May 12th to raise funds to say ‘thank you’ for all the support I have received from the hospice during my dad’s illness and after his death, and also for caring for my second mum, Mary, in her last week of life just 6 months after dad’s death.

Mary had dementia and was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2019. The cancer appeared slow progressing and was well controlled, however the dementia was fast progressing. Dad took care of Mary in their home and did everything he could possibly do for her.

Dad and I, had discussed end of life wishes and preferred place of care. Dad had said if she could, he would like her to come into the hospice. Unfor­tunately, dad became unwell, and I had to make the heart-breaking decision to get support, as working full time and caring for dad and Mary was a struggle.­

Initially Mary went into a care home – for some respite while dad was admitted to hospital for inves­tiga­tions. Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and Mary was admitted to a care home with permanent residency. Dad died just 8 weeks after diagnosis at home. Due to Covid restric­tions, family members were unable to see Mary. From May 2020 to January 2021, I had one face-to-face visit and one through the fence. As her health deteri­orated, I was concerned that she would not get to see family, therefore when the doctor made contact and said he felt she was in her last weeks of life, I arranged for her to come into the hospice. She came in on the Thursday and died the following Wednesday. During this time, family were able to visit and say their goodbyes. I was able to be with her holding her hand as she took her last breath, which is what my dad would have wanted.

The East Lancashire Hospice helped me keep my promise to my dad that we would take care of Mary! 

I am proud to say that I raised more than 3 times my initial target of £150 for The East Lancashire Hospice and my total stands at £486.