Sophie's Story | The Hospice of St. Francis

Sophie's Story

My dad was allowed to stay with mum the whole time

"In 2014, I lost my amazing mum, Maggie. She spent the last month of her life at the Hospice and I will never forget the care, compassion and kindness the Hospice showed my mum as well as my dad, my sister, and myself during that time."

Meet Sophie, from Hemel Hempstead. We caught up with her to learn about her experience of the London Marathon. In addition to why she wanted to support the Hospice.

Sophie applied for the marathon ballot but unfortunately did not get a place. However, she applied for a Hospice place and was successful! She took part in the event on Sunday 3rd October after months of training. She explains why she wanted to take part in the 26.2-mile event and fundraise for the Hospice. She raised an incredible total of £3,128.06 plus Gift Aid in support of the Hospice.

She was just 47 when she was admitted to The Hospice of St Francis and the staff went above and beyond to help support our family through a traumatic time.

My dad was allowed to stay with mum the whole time and when the nurses learned how close the four of us were as a family, my mum was moved into a larger family room so that myself and my sister could also stay when we needed to.

That gave us the privacy to spend time together whilst still having the support of the nurses when required, alongside the fantastic facilities. The beautifully kept, bright gardens were a peaceful haven which myself, my dad and sister could go to when we needed a moment. My mum always loved having a bath and despite mobility issues, the Hospice made sure that was possible. During those last weeks, we were able to have our family dog, George visit, so that my mum could see him.

Family Photo

Whilst the time that my mum spent at the Hospice was one of the most difficult times of my family’s life, I will always remember the Hospice with love as it allowed my family to be together for the last time, in a beautiful setting, surrounded by kind, compassionate people.”

Sharing her experience of the London Marathon, Sophie explains some of her highlights and favourite moments: “The support, the atmosphere, the route, the landmarks, all make it an incredible experience. Combined with the fact that hundreds of thousands of pounds are being raised for deserving causes through this run, the wonderful Hospice being one of those.

It honestly was an incredible experience. One I will never forget. The atmosphere running through London was surreal. The crowds and support you get along the way is brilliant and it was inspiring to see so many other runners; some with costumes, some with disabilities, all different shapes, sizes and ages all running for amazing causes. It is very humbling. 

I have many favourite moments from the day. One was running over Tower Bridge. Seeing the majestic bridge, looming up in front of you when you are running towards it is special, and the feeling running over it was amazing. You look either side and see the London skyline and the Thames below you, knowing you are running over one of the key landmarks of London. Either side of the bridge the spectators are cheering and clapping as you pass. This moment was magical.

Photo of Sophie during the London Marathon

Another favourite moment was seeing my friends and family along the route cheering me on. This gave me such a boost and it was quite emotional seeing them supporting me every step. 

And finally, of course, crossing the finish line. Honestly, by that point I was absolutely on my last legs. I will not lie, from about 20 miles in, I did hit a bit of a “wall” and it was a struggle. However, crossing that line, knowing you have achieved what you have been preparing for months is the most amazing feeling.

I was actually slightly delirious at this stage, however, continued running a few metres past the line  just to make extra sure I’d really done it until a kindly marshal shouted ‘You can stop running now Sophie’. So I did! 

Photo of Dad (Yogi), Sophie and Sister (Holly) at finish line

I would truly encourage anyone contemplating signing up - to do it. It is a day you will always remember. In addition, something you can really be proud of. I think (of course I’m biased!) if you are going to run any marathon, London is the best in the world.