As she gets ready to run her first ever marathon, Rebecca explains how seeing all that Trinity did for her Nan in her final days has been her personal motivation for taking part.  

“When Nan was at Trinity, she would watch the snooker and the tennis and, every day without fail, she would read the newspaper out loud to us and then make us laugh by asking us if we then wanted to read it after her!

My Nan was a massive part of my life. I am the youngest in our family and we were always really close. When mum was working, Nan would come and pick me up after school.

She was your typical Nan, really warm, spoiling me with all the things parents say no to. We used to stop off at the bakers every day, or she would buy me an ice-cream or a magazine, all the little things. She was always there, always part of my life.

There throughout Rebecca's life, nan Dot 

My Grandad had passed away some twenty years ago and so we used to go on holiday together, places like Ireland. She never liked anywhere too hot, loved politics and spoke her mind!

My Nan was someone who had worked hard all her life and loved spending time with us, or she was happy just spending time at her home in Fulham – at the same home she had always lived at.

Now she is gone, we talk about Nan a lot. We imagine what she would have said about different situations (she definitely would have said ‘Why would you want to run the marathon, it’s so far’!). We’ve missed her at special occasions that have happened since she passed, like family weddings but we always have a toast to her. I know she also would have loved her great-grandchildren who have been born since.

Nan was never keen on going to the Doctor’s and after a period of being poorly at home was told she needed to go into hospital. She had lost a lot of weight and had pains in her stomach. It was there at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital that she was given the news that she had terminal cancer at age 82.

We were heartbroken and scared but Nan was always really positive. She would say; ‘I’ve had a great life’, and knew some people weren’t fortunate to get to her age - so she was grateful for the life she lived.

It was a few weeks until she was brought into Trinity, and I remember the anticipation our family felt the day my Nan was being transferred to the hospice.

We had no idea what to expect and the idea of her being in a hospice terrified us. We thought we would be entering a place filled with sadness and grief, however from the moment we stepped through the door, we knew we couldn’t have been more wrong.

Trinity for us was the most incredible place where we were able to make some amazing memories. From the doctors and nurses to the volunteers, every single person made our journey a little bit easier. Trinity became a second home, and I spent every single day there (eating many toasties from the cafe!) so it will always hold a special place in my heart.

It was important to me that Nan was treated like a person and not ‘just’ an old lady who was going to die from cancer. For us it was about seeing her as a person who happened to need treatment too.

When Nan was in Trinity she had different days – some good, some bad, depending on how she was feeling and lots of resting.

At the time I had just finished a university placement at a digital agency in London and was lucky because I could come at any time to see her and one of the wonderful things about Trinity is there are no restrictions on visiting, you can come at any time and when you left at night, you knew that she would be okay, that she would be safe there.

In a hospice, you are aware of what is going on around you, that some people are dying, yet it doesn’t impact on how nice an environment it is to be in. I remember one day I went to see Nan and the staff had turned her bed around to see the garden. We had other moments of sitting together as a family around the big table and sharing a pizza we had bought in.

When she was unwell, lots of Nan’s stories about her life would come out. She would tell us about her times living in Fulham during the War, how she was evacuated twice and sent to Wales and how she could remember both the Olympics of 2012 in London and the time in the 1940’s.

Celebrating Dot's 80th on a day out together 

Me and my sister remember a particular volunteer that would read out all the soups on the menu and then my nan would say ‘oh no’ that’s not for me, it’s not Heinz!’ She loved Heinz soups.

As soon as we experienced Trinity, we all felt we wanted to do something – we all wanted to help. I am not the most sporty of people and have gone from a half marathon I didn’t really train for, to now being inspired to run the full distance. I am really enjoying having something like this to focus on and am out training several times a week.

I do my long run at the weekends and have just hit the 14-mile mark and even am thinking I might  increase my fundraising target as I am getting lots of support and enjoying the whole journey!

Armed with my playlist – a mix of Florence and the Machine and Stormzy, I’ve got a good running route now. When you are living in London and are out running down to Kew and along the river to Richmond and Hampton Court, and you start seeing other runners you recognise, you realise you are going to be part of something special.

Pedal partner - Rebecca's dad keeping her company during training

For me, I am doing it for someone special and hope my support will help as many other families who need Trinity’s help at their own difficult time.”

Want to take part in your own challenge as part of Team Trinity? 


Images: all family handout