Our 2020 team of dedicated runners have spent months training for the marathon.
This year, we have 10 Golden Bond runners taking part as well as a number of independent entrants joining thousands of runners from all over the world to take to the streets of London.
Their hard work and determination raises thousands of pounds for us in donations and sponsorship and their support means we can help hundreds of local families who need our care.
They have experienced our care and support firsthand and have a real understanding of the difference our work makes to thousands of people living in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales.
Read their stories below:
Eli Crawford will be running in memory of her dad.
While training for the marathon has been hard, it isn’t the only challenge Eli has set for herself.
She has already raised money for our hospice with a charity ball and auction and now will take to the 26.2-mile course in memory of her dad Malcolm.
Malcolm died in October 2016 after battling Mesothelioma, a cancer which affects the lungs and is caused by exposure to asbestos.
Eli, who now lives in Manchester, said: “During his final few days the doctors, nurses, staff and volunteers ensured he was as comfortable as possible, that all three of us were able to stay with him 24/7 and that all of us got the support we needed.
“However, it wasn’t just those last few days that Severn Hospice supported us as a family. During that year, my dad had a number of stays for a couple of weeks at a time for pain management and respite; the Hospice at Home team looked after him some nights at home during his last couple of months to enable Mum to finally get some sleep after round-the-clock care.”
Our complementary therapists were on hand and the hard work of the volunteer gardeners meant there was somewhere to spend time outdoors as a family and make memories.
Malcolm also talked with our Chaplain, who helped him to plan his funeral exactly the way he wanted it to be.
Three years after her dad’s death, Eli paid us a visit and was given a welcoming hug by staff when she was overcome with emotion.
Eli added: “This is my second marathon, but I swore I would never run another and so have barely ran since. It is just as big a challenge as the last.
“My family and I will never be able to say thank you enough to Severn Hospice for all their support. However, I am determined to raise as much money as possible in memory of my dad and show just a fraction of that gratitude.”
To donate to Eli’s fundraising appeal click here
Guy Walding, 34, is looking forward to the challenge.
Originally from Shifnal, Guy now lives in South London and admits he is not sporty.
“I really do need an excuse to exercise and this couldn’t be a bigger one. My dad Simon spent the last three weeks of his life at the hospice in Telford.
“As you can well imagine, this was the most difficult time my family has ever experienced, but the care and compassion we felt at the Severn Hospice allowed us to say goodbye in the most dignified way possible.
“I cannot stress how vital places like the Severn Hospice are – allowing you to be a family for the little time that remains. Running the marathon to pay off some of the debt we owe the hospice, and to remember Dad, is the least I can do.
“I’m looking forward to getting race fit again. I’m least looking forward to the early morning training runs. It’s safe to say that I’m at peak laziness on a Saturday morning, and that’s not going to be compatible with marathon training.”
To donate click here
When Hayley Lewis crosses the finish line it will be an emotional moment for the 34-year-old from Telford.
Hayley only started running last year but has completed a 10k run in her underwear and, along with the rest of the #DoMore4stage4 team, raised more than £10,000.
“The hospice, as it’s a local charity, is very close to my heart. I previously worked for a company which had a lot of involvement in raising funds for the building of the Telford Hospice and was present at the laying of the first brick.
“I only began my running journey 12 months ago and there simply is no better feeling than achieving a personal goal whilst knowing that you’re making a difference.
“I’m looking forward to race day already, the atmosphere, the buzz of London.
Cross that line
“My family and some friends have already booked their accommodation ready to cheer the team on.
“I’m not looking forward to the emotions…. I’m the most emotional person I know. Every step of my training and fundraising will be personal to me, my family, my friends and especially my fellow #DoMore4stage4 friends.
“I began running 12 months ago for my physical and mental health so come the marathon, I’ll cross that line!”
Matthew Adkins from Telford is running the marathon as a way of saying ‘Thank You’.
The 37-year-old’s dad was cared for at home by our nursing staff, which meant that Matthew’s family were able to fulfil their promise to him.
“Thanks to Severn Hospice staff we were able to keep dad comfortable at home, just as we’d promised him,” said Matthew.
“Although times were extremely difficult, we were able to stay together as a family, reminiscing, gathering around dad’s bedside right up until our final goodbyes.
“Even afterwards, support was there for us whenever we needed advice or just somebody to talk to outside the family.
“No amount of money I could raise would be enough to properly thank those at the hospice for what they did for my dad, but I know he will be with me every step of the way.”
Click here to support Matthew
Nick Deane, 52, has raised funds for us in previous marathons and half-marathons.
Nick’s first run for us was the Shrewsbury Half in 2014 and he then completed the London Marathon in 2016. Now he is limbering up for his third big run.
As always, he runs to say thanks for the care and support his mother-in-law Liz received at out hospice when she had terminal cancer.
Nick, who lost his dad to cancer 25 years ago, said: “I truly value the support outreach nurses and the hospice provide for those with terminal illness and to the immediate family.”
He has spent the cold winter nights training but has enjoyed meeting and talking to people during his fundraising.
He said: “I am looking forward to the thrill of hopefully crossing the line and the run itself.”
Nick has set himself a target of raising £4,000. To donate click here
Laura Hudson, 24, from Pool Quay, Welshpool – is running for her mum.
For Laura, her training regime during the winter has been fuelled by the memory of her mum Gail and the care she received with us.
Gail died in 2013 when she was just 47 years old after losing her long battle with breast cancer.
Now Laura is looking forward to taking on the challenge of the course and, at the same time, raising vital funds.
“Mum spent a large proportion of her latter life suffering due to cancer. Like many others, I have witnessed firsthand how cruel cancer can be.
“Severn Hospice is close to my heart as they provided my mum the care she needed during the latter stage of her life. She was a carrier of the BRCA2 gene mutation, (a gene that runs in our family) which gives ‘carriers’ approximately a 70 per cent chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetimes.
“Severn Hospice supported us as a family with the kind, caring staff and being a place where, as a family, we could stay when needed.”
To support Laura go here
Julie Davies, a hairdresser from Oswestry is running her eighth – and final – London Marathon for her dad.
Julie is a seasoned fundraiser – she has already completed several marathons and raised thousands of pounds for us but she wants this year’s run to be extra special.
She said: “I fundraise for the hospice because they cared for my dad at the end of his life and that is an experience I can never forget. I hope that by raising money for them, other families can have that choice.
“This will be my final London Marathon. But this doesn’t mean I’ll stop my fundraising and I will continue to donate all the tips I receive through work.
“It just means I’m sort of done with London. It’s an awesome day and fantastic atmosphere but with so many others wanting to do it and never getting the chance, I feel extremely honoured, but also a little bit selfish, to be taking up a place every year.
“I would like to make it extra special this year and try to raise more money than I have in the past.”
To donate click here
Gemma Vaughan is running the marathon for her Nan.
Six years ago, Gemma’s grandmother died at our hospice in Shrewsbury.
With little running experience, Gemma decided to give something back for all the care and love her grandmother had received and so applied to run the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon.
“I applied to run the marathon for a charity close to my heart. In July 2014 I lost a wonderful, strong and brave lady to cancer, my Nan.
“When Nan was told her prognosis by the hospital team it was devastating for her and us. They explained she was too poorly to be nursed at home, so they suggested moving her to Severn Hospice in Shrewsbury.
“At first to just hear the word ‘hospice’ was upsetting and scary but as soon as we arrived there we felt differently.
“The hospice team knew that Nan was on her way to them. They were there to welcome her and made her feel special. Straight away they made us all feel relaxed and nothing was too much for them.
“As soon as Nan was settled into her room the doctor came in, sat by her bed, held her hand and let Nan talk about the people that meant the most to her, her family.
“The team explained to us how to cope with end of life care, which meant a lot. They told us to talk openly to her, sit by her, gently stroke her hands and face, talk to her about precious memories and be positive, not negative or nervous.
“It just meant so much to be told this.
Caring and helpful
“The team were so caring and helpful to us all. The love and support they gave to Nan and the family was wonderful throughout. We can’t thank the hospice enough for the support and care they provided Nan.”
To support Gemma click here
Sharon Evans from Bridgnorth is running the marathon with her son.
Having vowed never to run the marathon again, Sharon is pulling her trainers on once more and clocking up the miles in preparation for this year’s event.
She struggled to complete the 2013 marathon due to injury and only made it across the finishing line thanks to the support of bystanders and her family.
But when her 20-year-old son Jordan asked her if she would run this year, she didn’t hesitate.
And she is doing it to raise money for us because she has experienced the care and support it offers both personally and professionally.
Sharon said: “Severn Hospice has helped our family and friends’ families both in their own home and in the hospice, supporting, caring and giving advice when it was most needed and I wanted to be able to raise some money to help other families have this support.”
Over the past few months, Sharon has held several fundraising events including an afternoon tea which raised more than £900, a bottle raffle and tombola and a bucket collection in a local supermarket.
She has also organised a raffle where the top prize is a 32” television.
The 47-year-old can regularly be seen pounding the pavements of Bridgnorth after she finishes work as a sister with the Hospice at Home team.
“It has been hard fitting it all in around work,” she said. “And the bad weather we have had has made it even harder. But I am determined to do it.
“I was injured before I ran the 2013 marathon, but I persevered. I hit the mental wall with six miles to go, but thanks to the crowds along the route, I sprinted down The Mall and crossed the finishing line.
“Last time I did it in 4:59:59 so I want to beat that – if I can do it in four-and-a-half hours I will be very happy.
“I think I will be a long way behind Jordan, but I will hopefully be soaking up the atmosphere and having our family on the streets of London cheering us on.
“I believe it’s about having that dream, believing in yourself and then being able to achieve that dream. I will be trying to break the marathon up into small chunks and thinking of the people I will be helping when I am running.”
To support Sharon click here
Applications for our 10 Golden Bond places for the 2021 marathon open on April 27 and will close in September.