"Unbelievably caring" : Running for mum and dad and the charity they loved

Rich’s mum, Gill, was a woman renowned for her kindness and inner strength. This year, Rich is running the London Marathon to support the nurses who looked after Gill in her final days.

Gill and Rich at home over Christmas in 2012

A kind and genuine person

My mum was an incredible person. She was very passionate and caring; always the first person to stop and reach into her purse if there was someone on the street with a charity tin.

She had lived through breast cancer twice, but then it came back for the third time in 2015. Mum gave it her everything, even then. She passed in August of that year.

Looked after by those she'd supported

Mum’s father – my Granddad – passed away when I was seven, and he was able to be at home when he died because of Marie Curie. Since then, Mum was passionate about the charity.

There’s something strangely beautiful that when mum passed, Marie Curie was there to look after her as they were for her father.

Remembering our parents

My dad, David also passed in 2012. My mum and dad’s relationship was a very real and special one. This year would have marked their 30th wedding anniversary!

A big part of my mum left when Dad died and she found living on her own unbearable at times. I spent a lot of time focusing on supporting Mum through this huge loss.

When Mum died, it became clearer to me that I didn’t let myself properly grieve for my dad. So when Mum passed, it was like I was grieving for both of them.

I think this has been quite pertinent for my brother, Rob and I in the last couple of years. We’re still grieving, but we’re getting there.

Gill with her sons, Rich and Rob at her niece's wedding.

Chocolate and flowers for every nurse

Mum was looked after at home, and the Marie Curie Nurses were amazing. Their versatility in being able to walk into a home, make people feel at ease, and get to it is just amazing.

Mum was always so full of praise for the nurses who looked after her.

She bought every nurse who looked after her chocolates and flowers. I remember running out and buying them for her a few times; it was important to her to be able to do that, because that was just the kind of person Mum was.

Fighting to be there for her family

A week before Mum passed she was absolutely determined to attend her niece Nicole’s wedding in Switzerland.

The first part of that journey was really horrendous. We had difficulties at the airport, and missed our original flight. She was extremely uncomfortable as she couldn’t walk, and was almost unable to get on the plane.

Gill and Rich throwing some shapes on the dance floor. Despite her ill health, Gill was determined to be there to support her niece, Nicole on her wedding day.

The perfect parting gift

But it was worth it when we got there. She was on the dance floor at the wedding; I remember pushing her around in her wheelchair and dancing together. It was so special.

She deteriorated shortly after we came back. But the fact she managed to get out there for the wedding was the parting gift. 

The right time to run

This year, I’ll be running the London Marathon in memory of Mum and Dad, and to raise money for Marie Curie. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m aiming high when it comes to fundraising.

My best mate ran two marathons last year, and all my friends are great runners too. It’s always great to be surrounded by that positive energy.

With Mum having a close relationship with the charity before she passed, I wanted to make sure I was in a good place to give something back.

Now feels like the right time.

You can support Rich by donating through his JustGiving page, and help Marie Curie Nurses be there for people and families when they need it most.

Look out for more from Rich as he prepares to take on this world-famous challenge in memory of Gill and David.