Marathon runner: ‘This one’s in memory of my boy’

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Mike O’Connor is a nurse at St Catherine’s Hospice caring for local people at the end of life.

On Sunday, he tackles the London Marathon, alongside 39 other supporters, in aid of the hospice. Here he explains why he took on the challenge: “I’ve worked at St Catherine’s for the last five years, both on our wards and out in the community, caring for local people in the comfort of their own homes. As a nurse, I see firsthand the impact the support of local people raising money for the hospice makes to local terminally ill people and their family and friends, when they’re facing the worst time of their lives.

“Raising money is a selfless thing that means local people don’t have to face death and dying alone.

“The expert care my colleagues and I provide wouldn’t be possible without people raising money so I’m thrilled to be doing my bit to make sure we can help more people in future because, although we’re hugely grateful for all the support we get, we still need more. And supporting St Catherine’s is something each of us should do. None of us know when we might need our local hospice and all of us will probably have someone affected by a life- limiting illness nationally, the demand for hospice care is increasing as people live longer with more complex health conditions and at St Catherine’s we know we need to help more local people.

“At the moment we can only care for one in three people at the end of their life. But with the support of our community and readers like you, we can do more. I look forward to a time when my colleagues and I are able to nurse everyone in the local community who needs us. As well as running to support my workplace, I’m running because I know what it feels like to lose someone.

“I used to be very fit and active and my son always looked up to me and the way I was into keeping fit. Training for the marathon is the first time I’ve have the motivation to get back into fitness since his death, and the marathon will be the first challenge I’ve taken on since losing him so it will be particularly poignant. I know he would be so proud of me though. And in the tough moments that thought will keep me going. So this one’s in memory of my boy.”

To support Mike in his marathon challenge please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/michael-oconnor

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