The London Marathon. People take on the experience of its 26.2 miles for a myriad of reasons, for most it’s a once-in-a-lifetime challenge that they take on for very personal, and often emotional reasons. Simply put, as it was by Bet, ‘to give something back.’

Bet, her sister Megan and brother Neill lost their dad, Alan, in 2000 and their mum, Sian, in 2014; both died at St Wilfrid's. 

Bet was in Australia, following her dream of playing polo, when she got the call to say that her mum was seriously ill. She was on plane in a moment and back with her family as quickly as she could. Having lost their father 14 years earlier, it was the three siblings who took on the role of carers.

In many ways, it was a role reversal: Sian was a woman whose life was defined by looking after her family, everyone was welcome in their house, she was ‘mum’ to everyone. 'Super Woman' is how her children describe Sian – always happy doing something for someone else, fazed by nothing, always busy, always her family above all. Now, it was their turn to look after their mum and they did it with the same love she had shown to them.

Sian had been diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Initially optimistic, Sian started a trial chemotherapy course at the Royal Marsden. For Bet there was no question, her mum should be at home and she would care for her for as long as she could.  Complicated drug regimes became second nature and arrangements with doctors and hospitals were expertly navigated. When sleep was in short supply and the outside world seemed a distant memory, love for her mum kept Bet going.   

Within just a few weeks the family met at their home with their consultant and staff from St Wilfrid’s. They received the shattering news that the months they thought Sian had left would in fact be just a matter of weeks. Then came the agonizing moment when Bet and her siblings had to face the truth that both she and her precious mum needed an extra helping hand. It came in the form of St Wilfrid’s.

Sian had already told her family that the hospice was where she wanted to be: her husband had passed away at the hospice and she knew that not only would she be cared for, but her family would be looked after, too. And so it was.

Sian was moved to the hospice and the care that St Wilfrid’s is so known for wrapped its arms around them all. Bet could still look after her mum as she had already been doing so well, but there were nurses by her side that could help.

She could relax a little, simply be with her mum, sit with her and talk to her. Sian was peaceful and visitors popped in. Bet could claim just a couple of hours here and there to go and ride her horses. Even in the storm there were moments of welcome calm. 

Sian passed away peacefully on the 17th of January 2014, with her family by her side. 

Five years later and Bet is heading for London to run the marathon for St Wilfrid’s. To give something back. To say thank you. And we wish her all the luck in the world.

Her mum and dad would be so proud of her, of all her family - even if her mum would apparently find it rather hilarious she’s doing a marathon!

To sponsor Bet, you can visit her Virgin Money Giving page. To take part in your own fundraising challenge for St Wilfrid's Hospice visit stwhospice.org/events.