Weston Hospicecare is regularly indebted to intrepid fundraisers who push themselves through the pain barrier on our behalf – and this month has been no different.

Indeed, hardy athletes across the region have been strapping on their running shoes and taking on all manner of challenges to raise money for the hospice in recent weeks.

Today, we’re turning the spotlight on a few of them to showcase the incredible efforts being made, week in, and week out, by our supporters.

 

Weston man Mark Hollis tackled his first ever 10km run to raise money – but he didn’t do things the easy way.

That’s because instead of taking on a flat, simple course for his running debut, he tackled the punishing hill of Brean Down – not just once, but twice.

Mark (pictured top left) was motivated to take on the challenge to support charities which had made an impact on him when his father was fighting cancer last year.

Mark said: “In the early hours of 12 December 2017, while resting in the A&E unit of Weston General Hospital, my Dad’s battle with signet cell cancer came to an end.

“Later that day, Dad was due to go into care at Weston Hospicecare.

“The weeks prior to Dad’s passing, he had received daily visits from the nurses and we had been issued with some essential furniture/equipment to make his stay at home as comfortable as possible.

“At the beginning of this year I wanted to do something in tribute to Dad’s brave fight and do my bit to say thank you to Weston Hospicecare and Cancer Research. I wanted to do something which would take me out of my comfort zone and really challenge me.

“In February I decided to take part in a 10k run on Brean Down. This was a huge personal challenge: I’m 47 years old, I’d never jogged before let alone run, I was overweight, unfit and had weak ankles following a very bad injury to them last September.

“The training was very slow and hard. I followed the Couch to 5k app on my phone, which helped a lot and then stuck with it as best as I could and very slowly worked on my distance.

“In June I set up two fund raising pages with Virgin Money Giving. All funds received would automatically be split 50/50 between Weston Hospicecare and Cancer Research. The increasing support from family, friends and even people I did not know was fantastic.

“On the day of the race, I finally did the 10k run. I was number 69, which is the best number to be for health and safety – if I had fallen off the edge and was left dangling upside down, the coastal helicopter would still recognise me!

“It was tough and very hot, but this was helped with a great atmosphere between the runners and organisers.

“I managed to complete both laps of Brean Down in one hour, 24 minutes – which I’m very happy with. It was an emotional and momentous day

“After the run, I have now received all the donations. My challenge had managed to raise £1,181.35 (including gift aid); figure which surpassed my expectations and leaves me overwhelmed.

“It was a great challenge, which was very tough; but in reflection I am in awe of the bravery and determination of people like my Dad, fighting cancer every day, during treatment and after.

“My hat goes off to consultants, nurses, carers who do an amazing job with such passion and support, both physically and emotionally.”

 

Another first-time runner who raced in support of Weston Hospicecare was Tom Barber, who took on the Cardiff 10k.

Tom (pictured above) was keen to support the hospice in memory of his grandfather, who was supported by the hospice in the final weeks of his life.

Tom said: “Weston Hospicecare looked after my Gramps in his last couple of months of being alive.

“He was the backbone of our family and a true inspiration for each and every member. He also used to do long distance races as part of the army, hence why I chose to do a long distance race to honour his abilities.

“I found it an amazing experience, where I felt close to my Gramps and a part of my city.

“The atmosphere was awesome and I would happily do another 10k run or even further.

“I am extremely grateful for the chance to support Weston Hospicecare and of course am extremely grateful for the donations, which passed the target by over £100.”

 

Devon’s Rachel Jones and her sister Claire (pictured at the top) also put their best foot forward for the hospice, raising in excess of £330 by completing the New Swindon Half Marathon.

Rachel said: “My sister and I ran in memory of our wonderful Granddad Hawkings. He dedicated a lot of time fundraising and supporting the charity in many different ways.

“We are well over our fundraising target, so really pleased.”

The pair ran side-by-side and completed the race in the admirable time of two hours and four minutes.

 

Are you planning a fundraising challenge? Or would you like to talk to us about some of the events you could take part in to support the hospice?

If so, email the hospice’s challenge manager Simon Angear via simon.angear@westonhospicecare.org.uk

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