Michael Blair 37 from Newcastle, is running the Great North Run this year for St Oswald’s Hospice in memory of his mam, Lynne, who spent over a year coming into the Hospice.
My mam was diagnosed with Lung Cancer and secondary brain cancer which was terminal from the outset. However, we managed to have 15 more months together as a family before she passed away in St Oswald's Hospice. I can say two things with great certainty: firstly, that those 15 months were some of the hardest, but most magical times we had as a family. Secondly, that it was because of
St Oswald’s that my mum lived as long as she did and as well as she did, even at the end.
My mum was in the Hospice on two occasions. The first was quite soon after diagnosis when the worst was expected. But after a couple of weeks of TLC, including sorting her medication out, and helping my dad get everything he needed to help care for her at home, she was back with us in time for a glorious Christmas of everything M&S could provide. The second stay came over a year later. It's probably a ridiculous thing to say, given that she passed away, but what St Oswald's did for my mum in that final 6 months was save her life. With their care and support and kindness, my mum was as happy as I had ever seen her.
Not only did St Oswald's save my mum's life, I think it save mine and it saved my dad's too. To see my mum, overwhelmed by a kindness I don't think she believed existed in the world, meant that I saw side of her I'd never known. That changed my memories of her forever and made me see what kindness can do to a person. Additionally, my father and I had never really been close before mum’s illness. But in that place, where there was so much love and kindness and time, something happened to help build a relationship, without which, I would now be lost.
The work that St Oswald's does affects everyone that it touches; patients and families, and the people who work there. It is a magical and necessary place. That’s why I decided to complete the Great North Run. I’ve nearly took part in it before about 8 years ago, but had to drop out last minute through injury.
I can’t wait to experience the atmosphere and to look down the finishing straight, but I want to enjoy every step. I think to start running, although I’m bad at it, is one of the best things I have ever done. Every time to go out it feels like you are making your life a little better. So I can’t wait to do it, with the added excitement of the occasion and bringing home that all important fundraising for the Hospice.
If you would like to help Michael’s and his journey, you can donate to his JustGiving page here: www.justgiving.com/Michael-Blair23.