On Sunday 2 October, Lucy Bushnell will be running the iconic London Marathon to raise money for St Catherine’s Hospice, Crawley. Here she shares why.
“This will be my sixth marathon. I knew that I’d got one marathon left in me and it’s so important it’s for my Dad Colin.
In my mind this is going to be my best marathon because every step I’ll know I’m doing it for Dad and St Catherine’s Hospice. This marathon is personal. It’s to celebrate Dad and the journey we went on for the time that I was with him.
Dad was diagnosed with cancer in August 2018 and by March 2019 was admitted to St Catherine’s for respite. When I found out Dad was going into the hospice I thought ‘that’s it.’
In the two weeks Dad was at St Catherine’s the hospice made things feel normal
The first time I came to visit Dad he was in the garden in a chair. I remember watching the Grand National with Dad in the lounge too. And at about 4.30pm every afternoon we’d hear a ‘clink, clink’ from afar. The clink, clink, got louder and it was the jolly drinks trolley. We’d often sit and have a drink together.
Dad was scared so he spoke to the hospice’s chaplain and did some meditation with them. He also loved having hand massages and petting the Pets as Therapy dog that came round the ward.
When Dad started to go downhill, the nurses made us feel like things were going to be fine
Knowing Dad was so well supported made things easier and the nurses always did everything they could to make him comfortable. They’d come in and although Dad couldn’t speak at the end, they’d say, ‘you alright Colin? You alright?’ Yeah, yeah, lovely’.
They looked after all our family too. It was like being in our own home without our décor. The hospice doctors always explained everything that was happening to us and answered any questions we or Dad had with honesty and care.
In the two nights before Dad died my sister and Dad’s wife stayed in chairs by his bed, and they were really impressed by the care he received from night staff too.
On the day Dad died nurses gave us so much space to say our goodbyes
Even when I left Dad’s room screaming because I couldn’t deal with seeing him like that, nurses looked after me, the staff are phenomenal.
I’m doing the marathon for the people who helped Dad and who can help others
It’s not really about running the marathon anymore. It’s the realisation that if I can ease the pain for another family who are going to feel all the emotions I did, what better way to spend 6 hours? I often think how many people must have run a marathon and raised money for the hospice to help my Dad and family through what we went through and to keep the care staff where they are? The pain of losing Dad doesn’t go away but if I can help others by doing the marathon I will.”
If you’re ready to take on the London Marathon 2023 or another running challenge, please visit: www.stch.org.uk/run, or call 01293 447361, or to support Lucy in her marathon challenge visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/haydon-bushnell