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St Clare trustee set to take on London Marathon

Lifestyle / Mon 20th Apr 2015 at 12:47pm

St Clare DebbieST CLARE trustee Debbie Bodhanya will be among the 13 runners taking part in next Sunday’s (Apr 26) London Marathon to raise much-needed funds for the Hospice.

Debbie was inspired to sign up for her first marathon in memory of her dad Gerry, who passed away suddenly in 2003 from an aggressive form of skin cancer, and hopes to raise more than £4,000 for the Hastingwood-based charity.

Debbie, who has been a St Clare trustee since 2010, said: “My dad was a fit, strong, healthy man. He swam three times a week with his friends at the ‘early birds’ club, walked lots and was just starting to enjoy his retirement. A grafter is how I’d describe him. He worked two jobs and always did his own house renovations and car maintenance. In my eyes there was nothing he couldn’t fix.”

However, one weekend in November 2003, the former registered nurse from Old Harlow got the sense that something wasn’t quite right at home in her childhood town of Stoke-on-Trent. She packed the car with her then seven-year-old daughter Charlii, remembering to take her trainers ready for her regular early morning run, and drove the 175 miles home to find her dad with a terrible cough.

“He told me not to make a fuss but he was breathless and really sounded dreadful,” she said. “The trainers never got used as the next morning I insisted I take him to the local walk-in centre and from there he was ‘blue lighted’ to A&E and admitted to hospital. Just over two weeks later he died in hospital, diagnosed with a very nasty form of skin cancer. I will always regret that we weren’t able to move Dad home or to a hospice to make those last days more comfortable and peaceful.”

Debbie, who is the managing partner at The Limes Medical Centre in Epping, added: “In the four years I have been a trustee at St Clare, I have seen the incredible work the team there do to provide superb home and hospice care. The clinical care is excellent and the whole team are passionate about the experience they provide for patients and families at such an important time.

“One in three families rely on hospice care at the end of life and in order for St Clare to deliver this, they need to raise funds to supplement the small percentage the NHS contributes each year to their funding.

“The Inpatient Unit, community service and day therapy all need us to help them to keep this service running so patients like my dad can choose to die in dignity with their families around them. I’ve got my trainers back on to raise money in memory of my dad for St Clare, so please help me to make it a worthwhile journey.”

To sponsor Debbie, visit her fundraising page at https://www.justgiving.com/Deborah-Bodhanya/

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