Jenny Hatton is just one of 21 runners taking part in Run Reigate in aid of St Catherine’s Hospice. Here she shares why she’s taking on the challenge this September:
“My mum, Mary, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2014. She’d beaten bowel cancer several years previously and sailed through her treatment, she even drove herself to and from her radiotherapy appointments in Guildford. When Mum was diagnosed and told that the cancer was incurable, she took the decision not to have treatment. She’d been offered palliative chemotherapy on a Wednesday but that was the day she met up with her friends for lunch every week and she viewed that as a much better form of ‘treatment’. Mum chose quality of life over quantity, a decision I fully respected and supported and although she fought bravely and stoically, she passed away in November 2015.
The team at St Catherine’s supported us during Mum’s final months. Mum didn’t want to go into the hospice for respite care “in case I don’t come out” but after several very tough days at home she went into the hospice for 10 days and then didn’t want to leave. She stayed there for three weeks. The staff were so caring and kind, nothing was too much trouble; they laughed with us and cried with us, supported us and just held our hands at a very difficult time. They were there at any time of day or night, which was so reassuring.
When Mum went into St Catherine’s, she had completely lost her appetite and had eaten very little for days but I remember her being given a bowl of chocolate sponge and sauce on arrival and she ate the lot. She visibly relaxed and you could sense her relief at being there. St Catherine’s is an incredible place, the drinks trolley goes round at 5pm, a neighbouring cat comes in and takes up residence on patients’ beds and anything that can be done is done to make everyone feel at ease – Mum was a big horse racing fan and they arranged for a copy of the Racing Post to be delivered to her every day.
We had arranged a party for Mum six weeks before she passed away. A gathering of more than 60 of her friends, neighbours and colleagues, many travelling from far and wide to be there. Mum had been in St Catherine’s for 10 days prior to the party and without their support the party would not have taken place. One of the nurses at St Catherine’s helped Mum get ready for the party and she was well enough to attend and enjoy the day. It was wonderful and I have many photos and happy memories as does everyone who was there.
I took part in the first Run Reigate Half Marathon in 2014 which went past Mum’s front door. She came out to watch and although the route has been changed, it feels right that I should take part in the race on 18 September in her memory. St Catherine’s works with people and they were there for me and Mum when it mattered. I do not know what we would have done without them.”