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A Newcastle-based doctor took part in the Great North Run this year, in support of St Oswald's Hospice, after being inspired by a chance encounter at work and a very special lady.

After returning to her home city after several years away studying and working, Jasmine Mallaburn, 29  was on shift in the A & E department of the RVI Hospital when a patient was brought in for treatment. The patient was accompanied by a woman who at the end of the consultation, asked Jasmine to repeat whole name. She then introduced herself as a staff member from St Oswald’s Hospice, who remembered a young Jasmine and her ambition for the future. Jasmine explains:

“In 2011, my hero of a Nana lost her battle with Motor Neurone disease. At our side every step of the way during her illness were St Oswald’s Hospice. Not only were the staff there dedicated to the care and support of my Nana when was an inpatient, from early on in her diagnosis they provided community care, including communication aids when she became more unwell. They supported all of our family through her deterioration and helped her and us navigate her cruel illness. 

“Fast forward to 2020, and I was with a patient at work when the lady accompanying her asked for my full name. When I told her, she said ‘I know you, your nana was a patient at St Oswald’s Hospice and you told us you were going to be a doctor one day, and here you are.” She had remembered my 17 year old self, telling the staff there that I was hoping to be a doctor one day. Her face filled with joy when I  explained that I had indeed gone off to study medicine after Nana had passed away, and that I had just moved back to Newcastle to continue to work as a doctor. I couldn’t believe that she remembered me and nana and even our dog Holly, after all these years. I had goosebumps and rang my family as soon as I could to tell them.”

In her training and work, Jasmine often has to have difficult conversations with her patients. She has found her own experiences with her nana and St Oswald’s Hospice has helped her to alleviate her patients fears. She added:

“My first experience of hospice care as a 17 year old was such a positive one and the experience has stayed with me. The standard of care and dedication from the staff stood out and they wrapped their arms around our whole family. As nana’s condition progressed, she was supported with her communication through the use of a speaking keyboard. Our family including our dog were able to stay in her room with her and we were offered support we didn’t even know we needed. Even after nana died, they were there for us and some members of the family attended bereavement support at the hospice. This experience has even helped me in my career as I can now tell my patients who are scared about coming to a hospice for the first time that it can be the best thing they can do; it’s respite, its support and a safe place where the care goes above and beyond.”

Inspired by her chance meeting, Jasmine decided to sign up to run the Great North Run on Sunday 11th September for St Oswald’s Hospice. it was her second time supporting us, after taking part with her dad in 2016. Jasmine is raising funds to support families like her own, in memory of her nana.

You can support Jasmine and St Oswald’s Hospice by making a donation to her giving page at www.justgiving.com/Jasmine-Mallaburn1