A DAD-OF-TWO has completed an epic challenge to run 100 miles over four days, visiting ten hospices on the route to raise awareness and more than £3,900 towards the specialist care they provide.
Martin Foster, 38, works as programme lead for GM Hospices so is all too aware of the invaluable role hospices play in providing a holistic approach to palliative and end-of-life care.
The knowledge that the ten hospices in Greater Manchester have to raise £20 million a year to continue providing care spurred him on to tackle the challenge.
Martin, who lives in Urmston, said: “People have a preconceived idea about what hospices are like, and I have to admit I did too before I worked in this sector.
“It’s an expectation they’re really sad places and only exist to support those who need care at the very end of their life. But, while obviously that is such an important part of what hospices offer, there’s so much more goes on too.
“Patients are cared for right through their journey and there’s a whole range of services that people simply wouldn’t have access to if hospices didn’t exist.
“They rely heavily on their communities fundraising, and having worked so closely with them I just had to put my trainers on and do my bit to support them.”
Martin started his challenge at Derian House Children’s Hospice before visiting hospices across the area including Dr Kershaw’s in Royton, Francis House Children’s Hospice in Didsbury and Willow Wood in Ashton.
He crossed the finishing line at Piccadilly Place in Manchester, where he was met by his wife Lucy, 38, and children Freddie, 5, and Tilly, 2, along with colleagues and friends from some of the hospices he visited on his run.
He said: “I used to run before my children were born but haven’t really done much since. I was a bit nervous about the scale of the challenge and how my body would feel as I’ve never really put it through anything like this.
“But the welcomes and send-offs I got from every single Hospice were out of this world and kept me going when my legs were telling me no.
“When I was tired and beginning to struggle, hearing the ping of the ‘GoFundMe’ app on my phone – telling me the fundraiser had just received another donation – brought me right back to why I was doing it.
“The money we’ll have raised will support the care of patients and families in all corners of Greater Manchester (and beyond); there’s no greater motivation than that.”
Louise Henderson, Dr Kershaw’s Marketing and Communications Manager, added: “What a challenge Martin has completed, we are in awe of his achievement.
“I was proud to also have joined him for a very small part of his run, keeping him company on his long journey for just a few miles. The funds he has raised will make such a difference.”
You can still sponsor Martin online: www.gofundme.com/gmhospices