"Dad will be with me at the start, during my toughest challenges and at the finish line."

After his dad Harry was cared for at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice, David Gallop wanted other families to benefit from the same care that his did. So he set himself a challenge – taking on one of the flattest, fastest half marathons in the country to raise funds for the hospice.

David Gallop with his late father Harry
David Gallop with his late father Harry.

I am running the Great Eastern Run 2019 in memory of my dad, Harry, who spent the last three weeks of his life at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice.

As soon as Dad was admitted and I witnessed how the staff were - not only with dad but our whole family - I knew we would all be okay. Even though I knew I was losing my Dad, I also knew he was in the best place possible. I can’t thank them enough.

The staff at Thorpe Hall were incredible, like walking angels. The care was exemplary.

"Sue Ryder made the last weeks of his life special"

My dad was a talented musician and one of the staff brought in a keyboard for him to play. This was just one of the ways they made the last weeks of his life special and not at all like being in a hospital.

During times when I was feeling a great deal of stress dealing with dad’s illness, as well as my mother’s dementia and the prospect of her being rehomed in a care home, the hospice’s family worker spent time with me and gave me one piece of advice that I’ll remember forever: “Take one day at a time.”

Running for Dad

When I found out I had a place running the Great Eastern Run with Team Incredible, I felt excited. Although there was no more help I could personally give Dad, it felt like I was helping him by providing help for others.

I want to raise funds to allow other families in similar situations to benefit from the wonderful care provided there. Raising any amount fills me with hope and pride, but if I can raise somewhere near £500 I will be chuffed to bits.

I told my dad while he was still with us that I was going to be running in the Great Eastern Run. I like to think he’ll be with me at the start, during my toughest challenges and at the finish line.

My training regime

This will be my first half marathon and to prepare I have been running two to three times a week and playing badminton. I’ve also downloaded a training plan. I’ve now run a half marathon distance on a training run, so feel okay about the run from a mental perspective.

My girlfriend Hayley comes out running with me on occasion, and my friends Paul and Charlie are helping with running tips and coming out on runs. My friend Richard is a seasoned runner with plenty of advice, and my manager Gary also has a wealth of marathon experience.

I hope it will be a great day, feeling the support from the people watching and participating. Hayley, my sons and brother Nigel will be cheering me on from the sidelines.

When the going gets tough when I'm out running, thinking about dad will keep me going.

Join David and Team Incredible at the Great Eastern Run 2019

You can support David through his JustGiving page.

The route of the 13.1-mile Perkins Great Eastern Run is lined with supporters and goes through the historic city of Peterborough.

If David’s story has inspired you to lace up your trainers and sign up, check out the event page or contact Nilesh Patel by emailing thorpe.fundraising@sueryder.org or calling 01733 225 999.

Author

David Gallop

Son of patient

David Gallop

Software engineer David is running the Great Eastern Run in memory of his father who was cared for at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice. His top tips for fellow runners include carrying a few jelly babies, not starting too quickly and pacing yourself.