Kieran’s story

“People think hospices are about dying, but they’re not – they’re about living your best life.”

That’s what mum, Nicola Vose, told us when she called to say that her son, Kieran, would be taking part in the Great North Run 2023. Kieran will be lining up in his assisted wheelchair, alongside mum and her partner, Paul Smith, as part of Team St Oswald’s this year.

Kieran, 23, was born with multiple life–limiting conditions, including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, scoliosis and Crohn’s disease.  Life has not been easy for Kieran living with such complex conditions. But mum, Nicola, says that despite everything he’s gone through, Kieran has a “lust for life” which makes her “dead proud of him”.

And we couldn’t be prouder too!

As Holly Smith, Acting Matron in our Children and Young Adults Service said:

“‘Cheeky chappie’, Kieran, came for his first short break with us in January this year and has settled in like a dream! The fact that he has now chosen to run for the Hospice for this year’s Great North Run is amazing.”

Mum, Nicola, explained that Kieran hadn’t had any respite care since he was 18 due to a lack of suitable provision:

“It’s been a waiting game and we were over the moon when a space became available at St Oswald’s Hospice.

“He’s been staying for 2 nights per month since January, it’s given me a break that I needed and he’s absolutely loving it!”

According to Kieran’s JustGiving page, he is taking part in the Great North Run to raise vital funds for the Hospice and say “thank you to the wonderful staff for enhancing his life”.

But it wasn’t just the staff who helped him settle in, his old school pal and fellow young adult, Nick, was here to welcome him. Kieran loves being around people his own age and the two of them have enjoyed catching up over trips out to Wetherspoons and Costa.

Kieran also loved the St Patrick’s Day celebrations at the Hospice in March, where his mum joined him.

Nicola said:

“Kieran is very sociable and likes to get involved and included in anything and everything. It was great to see him happy and settled on St Patrick’s Day. The nursing staff totally understood his needs and cheeky, fun personality.”

Due to his medical conditions Kieran is unable to talk, however, in 2017 he was given a communication device that was truly life–changing.

Nicola explained:

“Kieran uses an eye–gazer and symbols to communicate via the device. It’s given him freedom and choice and has changed life dramatically! As well as helping him to communicate his needs, it’s really let his sense of humour come out!”

Talking about the Children and Young Adults unit, Nicola reflected:

“The unit itself is a lovely environment. There’s no clinical feeling – even the uniform is casual even though they are fully qualified medical staff. It’s so far removed from a hospital environment and it’s a great place for Kieran to be.”

Nicola added:

“St Oswald’s Hospice gives Kieran opportunities he wouldn’t get anywhere else. He’s been fishing and he can’t wait to go surfing this summer! We’re making so many amazing memories to cherish.

“People think hospices are about dying, but they’re not – they’re about living your best life. And I know he’s living his best life when he’s at the hospice.”

Nicola ended:

“If you’re living a short life, you’ve got to make it count.”

And that’s exactly what Kieran is doing.

It will be the fourth time Kieran will have tackled the famous half marathon and the first as a member of Team St Oswald’s.

So, we’d like to say a massive Good Luck to Kieran and thank you for joining Team St Oswald’s for the Great North Run 2023! We’ll see you for celebrations at the finish line!

Has Kieran’s story inspired you? We will be releasing information on our website very soon about how you can take part in Great North Run 2024 as part of Team St Oswald’s.

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