Rennie Grove Hospice Care’s intrepid team of runners are getting ready to tackle the world-famous route around London on Sunday 23 April. The 20-strong team will join 38,000 runners at the start line of the 2017 Virgin London Marathon, spurred on by their supporters’ pledges. Between them they have accumulated almost £26,000 in sponsorship so far.
Jim Burton lives in Penn and works as a GP at Carrington House Surgery in Priory Road, High Wycombe. He has a very personal reason – as well as a professional one - for running the London Marathon in aid of Rennie Grove:
“In 2007 I ran the London Marathon for what was then called Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, now known as Rennie Grove. My 13 year old son, Tom, came up to London to watch me. He climbed up the stairs to the top of Tower Bridge to watch the runners below. I clearly remember seeing him at about 19 miles, and again at the finish. Eleven days later he collapsed suddenly and died, whilst running to catch up with a friend at school (the RGS). This will be the tenth anniversary.”
“Rennie Grove do a brilliant job for those in need of end-of-life care. As a GP I often work with Rennie Grove nurses and they provide tremendous practical support.”
Michael Byard from Beaconsfield has taken part in several fundraising events for Rennie Grove, including the charity’s Muddy Mucker challenge. Michael’s Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June 2014. Michael explains:
“My Dad sadly passed away the following March after losing his battle with this aggressive form of cancer. During his illness, he was cared for by the amazing nurses working for Rennie Grove Hospice Care. The nurses were not only professional, they were friendly, helpful, understanding and took the time to explain everything to Dad, and to us. They helped us to understand everything that was happening and they were available to our family at any time of the day or night, making sure my Dad was comfortable. Their dedication to my Dad, right up to the end, meant his wishes were honoured and he was able to pass away in the comfort of his own home, surrounded by those he loved.
“Before my Dad died, we spoke about fundraising events which I could take part in to help to raise money for the charity and enable them to continue their incredible work. Having taken part in half marathons in the past my Dad had always been my biggest supporter – he would follow me around the course and was often the loudest spectator. When he was ill, we talked about how I could run the London Marathon as my next big challenge, and I’ve been very lucky to have been given a place in this year’s event representing Rennie Grove Hospice Care.
“I’ll never be able to thank the nurses and support staff at Rennie Grove enough for their care during the most difficult of times for my family, and the care they continue to provide to my family, to this day.
“In my Dad’s memory, I’d like to raise as much money as I can, so that the team at Rennie Grove know how appreciated they are, and so that they can continue to support other families in their time of need.”
Paul Sutton from Harpenden took up running after his wife, Antonella, was diagnosed with a rare form of terminal endometrial cancer in 2011. He explained: “Running helped me through the tough times while caring for her and continues to do so since she died in 2013.
“Antonella received care from Rennie Grove and I had bereavement counselling with the charity. I’ve raised sponsorship for them by running the Herts 10K before but I want to support them further.”
Paul has a packed year of fundraising challenges planned, with the marathon on April 23, the Prudential Ride London 100 on July 30 and the Herts 10K in his hometown on Sunday October 8, all in aid of Rennie Grove.
Gillian Barnett, Director of Fundraising & Marketing for Rennie Grove, said: “The team are doing a brilliant job with their training and their fundraising. We’re hoping for a final push so that they can reach £36,000 and fund a Hospice at Home nurse for a year, which would be fantastic.”