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My Wellchild Why #VLM2019

All being well, this time in 3 weeks I’ll be sipping on a shandy with my fifth (and probably final) London Marathon hanging round my neck. Having deferred last year due to a niggling knee and a dose of depression which stole my running mojo, I can’t wait to get to the start line and soak up what is always an incredible and emotionally charged atmosphere.

I will be heading to the start line this year nursing a hurty hip, a niggling knee and an achy ankle. I will be celeb spotting at the Green start and draped in one of the new capes that VLM are trialling as just one of several measures to reduce the carbon footprint of the race and am aiming for a new PB- keep everything crossed for me! This year, I am running for an incredible charity; WELLCHILD and, I thought you might like to know a little more about my why…

Once upon a time (you might need to suspend belief for a minute) the government made some really poor decisions and decided that front line staff working with children at risk of entering the care system were a luxury. Now, it would be incredibly easy here for me to go off on a massive rant here about the subsequent rises in gangs, violent crime and the fact that decisions such as this have had an impact which will take decades to undo but, as we all have things to do I will press on with the story at hand…

After my friends and I were told that we were being made redundant, I logged on to gumtree and searched for a job that would help pay the rent whilst I looked for something else. What I found was an amazing weekend position looking after a gorgeous girl and supporting a fantastic family who had a child with complex medical needs. That little girl was called Phoebe and she was born with Cerebral Palsy having suffered complications at birth. Phoeb’s was not able to talk or walk and used an electric wheelchair to get around but she was definitely able to make her feelings and needs known. I fell 100% in love with her!
At the interview I was so afraid of using the wrong terms or saying the wrong thing; and I certainly made my fair share of mistakes; having never supported a child with significant medical needs before it was a steep learning curve for me but, it was also one of the best things I have ever done because it taught me so much about life- about empathy, guilt, unconditional love and just getting on with things, how ever challenging the circumstances.

I saw how much love and care her mum and dad gave everyday and how difficult they found it to give as much time and attention to their other children. I saw how frustrating Phoebe found it when I couldn’t quite figure out what she wanted despite both of us trying our best and I saw how clever and funny and stubborn and cheeky she was- it was a learning curve and a massive privilege. I worked with Phoeb’s and her family for almost 3 years. She is now 17 (which is frankly ridiculous) totally gorgeous with a whole life list of plans that she is smashing her way through as I type and I am so proud to know her! Me being a part of the family (which is what so many carers are) enabled mum and dad to get some much needed respite, to spend time with their other two children and to do all of the usual day to day admin that comes with being a parent… washing, home-work, taxiing to parties- you know the score- well; times that by at least 100 and you’re still a world away from the daily challenges that these families face.

On Thursday, as Mr L, the girls and I were leaving the house for an afternoon at Chill Factore the post arrived and in it was this- I cried most of the way to Manchester;

ava pic

ava words

As our two girls sat in the back of our non adapted car chatting and reading and singing I was totally overwhelmed. How lucky we are to be able to get up and go, to take part in activities and visit cool (pun intended) places like Chill Factore without considering anything more than whether we had remembered 4 pairs of gloves for 2 hours in the snow… news flash… we hadn’t!

Running the marathon for Wellchild will hopefully show what a huge amount of respect I have for all of the families across the UK that are caring for children with complex needs as well as all of the nurses and support services that work along side them. It is a difficult and life long journey.


The work Wellchild does allows families like Ava’s and Phoebe’s and hundreds of others, to live. It enables them to get home and get on. It provides training so that families are able to administer medical support at home. The Better at Home Suite at Edge Hill is a wonderful facility which enables parents to learn the necessary skills to care for their child at home in a safe and supportive environment. Wellchild also funds nurses who can visit families at home to support with medical needs and prevent prolonged hospital stays. There is so much more I could say about Wellchild, quite simply, they are life savers- check out the family stories  on the Wellchild website and you’ll understand exactly what I mean.

I would love you to support my marathon fundraising efforts by donating a fiver, a tenner or whatever you can afford, in doing so you’re helping to make sure families all over the country have the care and support they need to be able to look forward with hope.

Click the here now to make a donation…. PLEASE- every single donation helps.

wellchild logo






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