India Haresign's mum, Gail, passed away at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice on 24th June 2017 after she lost her four-month battle to pancreatic cancer at age 59. India is running the London Marathon 2018 in her memory. Here, she explains why.
"In January, me and my Dad climbed Kilimanjaro to raise money for Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, as they had cared for my grandad when he died from cancer a couple of years ago. My mum felt unwell before we left for Kilimanjaro but we didn’t think it was anything serious.
"When we got back, she had several tests and on 28th February she was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and given six months to live. We were completely shocked and our whole lives were ruined in the space of a day.
"Six months’ previously, me, Mum and Dad had done an American road trip round Florida, Nashville, New Orleans and Memphis. I couldn’t understand how 6 months ago, we could be enjoying our holiday and now she was dying."
"Mum was my best friend"
"My mum was my best friend and, three months on, I still cannot believe she's gone.
"My mum was the bravest person I have ever met, and she approached cancer with dignity and strength. She was an inspirational woman who received an OBE for her work in the civil service, and she was an incredible mother and wife.
"Mum was so positive and appreciated her life. She wasn’t bitter or angry; she was just happy that she had family and friends who loved her."
Friendship, care and dignity
"Following several stent operations and plexus blocks, the cancer had really taken its toll on Mum so she went into Wheatfields Hospice for symptom management. Unfortunately, Mum never got to come home from Wheatfields and died in the hospice six weeks later.
"The hospice was incredible; they helped her retain her dignity, which was incredibly important to mum as she was very glamorous. They made friends with my mum and my family. The staff at Wheatfields took the time to build a relationship with us – they made friends with us as a family and made my mum happy at a very unhappy time.
"The chef even baked my dad a cake on his 60th (thank you, Rosie!). Wheatfields made an incredibly hard time easier by being amazing, professionally and as friends. Mum's palliative care nurse Caroline even came to the funeral and sent us a heartfelt card that meant the world to us.
"On my Mum and Dad’s 39th wedding anniversary, staff helped her come home for a few hours to celebrate with us. That was the last time she got to come home, but we cherish that day and are so thankful to Wheatfields, the nurses and the doctors who made it happen, and allowed us to have one last day in our home as a family."
Giving back to Wheatfields
"We wanted to give back to the hospice after everything they had done for us so we've decided to run the London Marathon in 2018. My Dad has run it nine times and I have run it three, and my Mum used to always watch and cheer us on, so it means even more to be running in her memory.
"To help raise our target of £4,000, I trekked the three peaks with my work colleagues and we have organised several other events. My employer Addleshaw Goddard has generously agreed to match what we raise.
"We can never repay Sue Ryder and Wheatfields for what they did for us and my Mum, but we hope that helping to fundraise shows our appreciation."
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