Paul ran the Virgin London Marathon 2017 in memory of his Mum who passed away in August 2016. These are his words prior to the race.
"I am a runner and take part in a few marathons each year. Each year I support a different charity.
"This year it was a no-brainer - I think I even explored the possibility of raising money for Sue Ryder within a few days of Mum passing. I will again be pushing myself to my limits and no doubt this will be a very emotional journey.
"Mum had not been well for a while but nothing that appeared to be too serious. In July, she eventually went into hospital where she remained for a few weeks and where we didn’t really get any answers as to what the issues were.
"We were advised that they thought it may be cancer, but this was then backtracked – so we were still uncertain. Eventually we were told Mum had liver cancer but that it was inoperable because it had spread and there were no large areas, just lots of several small ones and they were unable to locate the primary source. We were informed we had a short time left - weeks or months. Strange, really, because as heart-breaking as it was it still didn’t feel real.
"Mum pushed to come home as she didn’t want to spend her last days in hospital or at a hospice. At this stage it was more apparent that she was becoming more unwell on a fairly rapid basis. Naively, I was still thinking she could recover from this.
"It was Mum’s 70th birthday the following week and she asked us to make plans – inviting people – ordering food from M&S at her request!
Compassionate care at home
"Mum had all sorts of Sue Ryder care at home and was well cared for. On the Sunday I broke the news to my young daughter, who was devastated, but wanted to see her so we all went round together. She was fantastic – sitting with Mum, holding her hand – and talking to her about all sorts. She must have been upset but at that time she was strong for all of us – I felt so proud of her.
"The following day I met with the lovely lady from Sue Ryder, Julie Pallister. What stood out is that she was so genuinely caring about Mum as well as myself. She made Mum more comfortable and, at this point, I kind of realised the severity of the matter and that time was something we did not have on our side.
"Julie was brilliant, talking to Mum, caring for her in such a compassionate way. After Mum had fallen asleep, myself and Julie had a good chat about all sorts of things and at that time it was exactly what I needed, not being the sort of person who shows emotions. I suddenly felt better prepared for the ever nearing inevitable outcome.
"Later that very afternoon, Mum passed. My wife arrived and was with me and Mum at the end.
"From diagnosis of cancer to passing was less than three weeks – the decline was rapid beyond belief. It was a truly heart-breaking time for us all. In the following days, I received a hand-written card from Julie that included some heart-warming and carefully written words. This meant an awful lot to us."
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