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Hospice Stories

Darcy’s Story: Making my Dad Proud

By June 16, 2023No Comments

“One of Dad’s favourite sayings was “Never VW”. He always said you should never voluntarily withdraw from anything. It was always about trying your best and not letting anything beat you. I think my Dad would be really proud of me.”

Darcy ran the London Landmarks Half Marathon for St Peter & St James Hospice in 2022, in memory of her Dad, David, who was cared for by the Hospice in 2019. She shares with us her Dad’s journey and why she chose to fundraise for the Hospice.

David was an incredibly active man, an Officer with Sussex Police, and then the City of London Police. He enjoyed running and playing rugby and ran the London Marathon for charity several times, often in fancy dress! Unfortunately, in 2018, he was diagnosed with a stage 4 brain tumour.

The whole family came together to help care for him, travelling from Manchester and Wales. Though he had radiotherapy and chemotherapy, he received a terminal diagnosis in May 2019 and it was at that point that the family were referred to St Peter & St James Hospice.

David wanted to spend his last days at the Hospice, having visited and been shown around. The family gained support from the community nursing team and both Darcy and her Mum received counselling from the Hospice, which they found helpful;

“We were told it was ok to feel these emotions, and it allowed us to get our feelings out with someone who understood the situation we were in.”

David was transferred from home to the Inpatient Unit at the Hospice, in early October. Family and friends were able to visit and stay the night with him, and organised a rota to ensure there would always be a familiar face by his side. David died in in November 2019, with his family around him.

Almost a year later, Darcy was scrolling through Facebook when she saw a post from St Peter & St James Hospice promoting places in the London Landmark Half Marathon and decided to sign up and run in memory of her Dad.

“It was totally a spur of the moment decision! When I got home and told my mum, she asked me how I was going to be able to do it, as I’m really not sporty. Amazingly, she mentioned it to a family friend who happened to be a runner themselves and they offered to help train and support me.”

Darcy trained hard over the winter, in sometimes very tough conditions. “It was really tough getting up in the early morning, rain or snow to train, I couldn’t have done it without the help of a family friend.”

Friends, family and ex-colleagues of David’s were also incredibly supportive when Darcy asked for sponsorship, coming together to raise double her original target of £1,000 and leaving encouraging messages on her JustGiving page.

“Dave was an awesome man, his positive can-do attitude remained throughout his journey, I have no doubt he will be running alongside you, wearing fancy dress grinning from ear to ear. You’ll smash it x”

On the day of the half marathon Darcy’s Mum and the team from the Hospice were there to cheer her on. “I felt like I was doing really well and then I got all emotional when I saw my mum and the Hospice team, it really hit home for me why I was doing this. When I crossed the finish line I turned to the lady who I’d been running next to and we both had a good cry.”

Darcy chose to run for St Peter & St James Hospice to show her gratitude for the care her Dad, Mum and she received. The event and training were a challenge, but Darcy is incredibly glad she did it. To others who are thinking of running for St Peter & St James Hospice she said;

“Do it, as hard as it was, it was so worth it, for such a good cause, it’s so so worth it.”

If you would like to take on a challenge in memory of someone special to you, you can now sign up to hear about our upcoming in memory walk, Shine Bright.

Alternatively, take a look at our challenge event page for more ideas.

Shine BrightChallenge Events