Eastbourne Half Marathon siblings share story

Just a few days after losing Mum Alison to cancer, siblings Naomi, Elena and Joshua South ran Eastbourne half marathon in aid of the hospice. At the time of writing, they have raised £3,640.

Alison wanted to die at home, and our Care at Home Team supported the family to make that happen. Here, Naomi tells us all about her wonderful Mum and what the hospice means to them.

‘Mum was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2019. Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery led to a form of remission, but unfortunately, they found another lump requiring more chemotherapy. In January 2022 her condition was terminal, and we were told she may only have one more year. Treatment stopped last November, and she passed away in February 2024.

‘The hospice was involved when Mum received her terminal diagnosis, and support from the Care at Home Team started in her last three months. It all felt scary and very real when the hospice was first involved. However, St Wilfrid’s was exactly what Mum needed and we all realised it was all about her needs and care, and she welcomed the support. She was always very positive, but also a realist.

‘Elena and I both wanted to run the Eastbourne Half Marathon again, and it was Elena who came up with the great idea of running it to raise money for St Wilfrid’s. It was my third half marathon and Elena’s fifth, and we both encouraged Josh to do it as his first.

‘We trained as much as we could, given the circumstances with Mum, and felt a mixture of confidence and apprehension going into it. When the big day arrived, we were so pleased that the weather was good. We were even saying how mum had brought out the sunshine for us. The three of us stuck together for support, and all went well. We managed to run most of the way, with just a bit of marching on the hills, and it was great that our friend Jaegar was able to accompany us for most of the time.

‘We felt so much emotion crossing the finish line. It had been a tough few months with everything that had been going on with Mum, and it was very difficult as she had only passed away the week before. I felt the release of emotions of everything we had been through, but also the support and love of everyone that had helped us, donated and cheered us on.

‘Lots of friends and family were waiting for us at the end, including our big brother Anthony with his wife and children, who were holding a big sign up which said: ‘For our Granny’ and ‘Well done NayNay, Josh and ElBell’.  Even the St Wilfrid’s team were there to show their support.

‘We’d like to thank everyone who donated to our fund. It meant that, at such a difficult time, we were able to focus ourselves on the half marathon, and the support has been overwhelming. It’s lovely to think we are surrounded by wonderful friends, family and those touched by our story.

‘We wanted to fundraise for the hospice as they took the stress away when Mum was ill. We could call them for help and everything we needed was sorted. The Nurse Line was so important at the most desperate times, and on a few occasions, I had to call in the early hours and the nurses came quickly to administer the necessary injections.

‘A few family members benefited from counselling sessions offered at the hospice, but Mum found it particularly valuable. There was always a friendly face who knew her when we walked into the hospice. Elena and I would take her to appointments, and it meant we could have a break and enjoy some of the amazing cakes! We had been off work for two months to look after Mum and even just having the cakes in the café felt comforting.

‘Our Mum was truly awesome – the most amazing Mum and Granny. She was so full of life and brought so much fun and happiness. Her incredible laughter and silliness will always stay with us. She was such a presence and would light up the room. Mum was also very driven, ambitious and such an inspiration. She was so strong and resilient. She gave so much love and was loved by everyone around her, and we know she’ll always be with us.

‘We want to thank everyone at St Wilfrid’s who helped Mum in any way. Their support meant that our beautiful Mum could have her wish to pass away peacefully at home, and for that, we’ll be eternally grateful.’

Pictured: Joshua, Naomi & Elena

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Student social worker shares feedback on hospice placement
Madeleine is studying at The University of Brighton and spent a few days at the hospice.
Rainbow Runners share reasons for signing up
The St Wilfrid's Hospice Rainbow Run returns on 18th May, and participants have been sharing why they'll be taking part.
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