Vitality 10km London - #body-positive and; #DoMore4Stage4
On May 27th, a group of friends and I (Melanie Humphreys) Actually completed the Vitality London 10,000m course - with all of us in our underwear (or #teamrunderwear! or #DoMore4Stage4 and #BodyPositive). We ran in a wave with over 1000 ladies in underwear - the total wave size was over 2,500! Our idea to develop on the brilliant work already achieved within this larger group of creating a powerful image of women, en masse, celebrating their bodies, with our own unique and individual combination of celebrating the wonderful work that local hospice’s provide within the local community, hence DoMore4Stage4 Cancer being adopted as our own group name. With cancer - you are so much more likely to have body hang ups due to surgery... sometimes emergency, sometimes planned - but either-way... your body is never going to be how it has been previously! Cancer destroys many things... and it takes a very tough person (mentally, physically socially) to accept these... and many may appear so... but believe me the appearance it takes twice as much energy as the long, sullen face!
So, on the back of this we wanted to remind ourselves, and share with others, how wonderful our bodies are exactly as they are. Cancer destroys so many things... So we joined the #body positive @celebrateyou gang to be proud, heads held high, tummies in, chests out with the masses! (well 1000 out of 26000). Our team, all have individual challenges that they have overcome from within and external to their own bodies and sometimes this can make us want to shy away from exposing any part to the public eye! … so we see this as a great opportunity for us to use our friendship, love, passion and enthusiasm as a catalyst to get our team to support each other through training and of course, to get around the course - To be proud of our bodies and what they actually achieve with us and for us! and we DID IT!!!!!!
Why body positive and why The Shropshire Hospice... well here we go… So I’m Mel, I’m 54 and the one with secondary cancer.
I had primary breast cancer 12-years ago, and I am now living with secondary breast cancer residing [in several places] particularly in my lungs and liver. I’m receiving palliative intra-venous chemotherapy every week - this takes all day pretty much and can be exhausting! I have two children; Matthew, 29 and Jess, 17 years old. I work at Birmingham City University in the Faculty for health, education and life sciences. I have been quite fit before (even completing a half Ironman Triathlon) - but not run (or exercised) in earnest since August last year - AND even then it was a 3K run at most! I am a level 3 triathlon coach - and try my best to keep this up. I have been - up until July this year... the European Biathlon Champion! I felt privileged to have so many of my friends inspired to join the team and am determined to get around the course with lots of laughs along the way! We had our own unique chant... singing classic songs along the way 'Dancing Queen' would be rood not to when in London! Kept us focused until the end!
Everyone I know who has been involved with Hospice care (as providers) and dying (as patients and family/carers) talk of the honour of being able to support people at this time in their life, or indeed receiving such outstanding care at the emotionally heartbreaking time of death of a loved one. Hospice care is about helping terminally ill people live better and longer with an amazing quality right up until the end of life.
Our local hospice - The Severn Hospice helps families from the moment they're referred to its care for as long as they need it, and it does this every day, all day for anyone in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales. Unfortunately we have lost a level of funding... grass routes... that would maintain an existing 2 beds for the year - you can imagine how criminal this feels for the local community - especially those so close to that 'terminal' phase. Stage 4 is an unknown quantity... anything from days, weeks to maybe some months away... but knowing they have failed to fund 2 beds is tragic and a real real worry - coming so close to maybe needing it's excellent near-death/death experience. And I am truly passionate to do what I/team can do to help continue to find that funding the government has failed to deliver.
Introducing the rest of our team!
Hello all - Here's our team mini-bios!
Hello all, I'm Sue and I'm a nurse in Shropshire having trained in Liverpool. I have known Mel for many years as I have 4 kids and Mel has coached most of them at some point as they have all competed in swimming and running competitions through Wrekin College Triathlon Club. Mel is the most inspirational woman I have ever met with a cracking sense of humour and loved by many. Looking forward to doing this 10k!
Hello!! I’m Hayley, mother of 2 and supervisor in an NHS referral service. In November I began couch to 5k, running with my little girl in her pushchair and we graduated in January!! I’ve known Mel for 25 years and had the pleasure of growing up with Matthew (her son) and watching Jess grow up too. I can’t wait to join Mel and all you other amazing ladies on the start line - raising money for an amazing cause and running my first official event with one of the most inspirational team of women I know!! Xxxx
Hi all, I'm Maxine a 52 yr old Cardiac physiologist at Northern General Hospital,Sheffield. I haven't run this distance for about 10 yrs. I love hiking badminton and spending time with my family. I am running with my daughter and step daughter along with a group of friends to support Mel on her cancer journey and to raise money for her local hospice.
Hey, then we have Leanne who lives in York. I'm 31 and a charge nurse in a secure forensic hospital. I have a husband called Martin and a little ICSI miracle daughter Lily who is 5! My mum is Maxine and I met Mel when I was about 8 on holiday! She has been a huge inspiration to me my whole life and especially in my career! I'm extremely unfit and have only just started to lose weight, so this will give me a big push to get fit! I can't wait for the race!
Hi I’m Holly, age 20 - the baby of the group! I’m currently at the University of Leicester studying law and in my spare time play hockey training and playing 4 times a week most weeks. I have never done an organised run before and even though I play a lot of hockey my fitness isn’t as good as it could be so I think this run will be good for me. I’m really happy to be part of this team with lots of wonderful women.
Hi I’m Cara I am very unfit and need motivation to exercise although I do love gardening and walking my dog. I ran a 10k years ago with no training or fitness background at all but I had the will power and surprised myself with a really good time. Having this 10k at the end of may has given me the motivation I needed to get my bottom off the sofa and get fit.
Hi I am Helen and I will be 56 when I run (but mainly walk). I am not an athlete- I do not have the body or the will to be an athlete and I have never done something like this before and probably never will again, but I am doing this as Mel asked me to. Mel is the most inspirational person I know, personally, intellectually and athletically and I would do anything she asks me to as long as I can, and it is legal 😂 I am currently a resuscitation officer and nurse and met Mel 28 years ago when we worked in the same A&E department; she is my role model. My body is not traditionally beautiful and it is self inflicted but it is mine and I am proud to join this group of ladies. I am the chief dog walker for Pixie and Bree and we are already in training for Vitality 10k!
Next up is Gill T a medic in Shropshire & mum to 3 teenagers. I’m over 50 now & ran (very slowly) a half marathon a few years ago but don’t run now as knees took a battering training for the half!! Am sometimes quite fit but less so at the moment - although I have recently had a ski holiday, which involved lots of hard skiing! I’ve known Mel through our kids who were at school together & have had the pleasure of seeing Mel in action whilst working together within an educational setting. I’m doing this to be with Mel and the team and to show that together we are all stronger.
Then we have Nicky - and I’m Matthews mother-in-law. I feel privileged to run this 10km in support of Mel. I haven’t run a 10km since my twenties and am now 57. I do run regularly shorter distances. I was a primary school teacher for 33 years but took early retirement last year. Looking forward to being able to show you, Mel, that we’re all rooting for you.
I’m Gill M nearly 55!! I am doing this to support Mel and show her how committed I am on this journey with her. I’ve known Mel for 44 long years - we went to school together and have many fond memories! My fitness levels are zilch. I will train like mad and do what I can. As long as there are no hills in London I will be fine. Will need to up my fitness to be able to run and have a conversation at the same time though - but really looking forward to being in the team and supporting each other through the training and race itself.
Hi all. I'm Tracy and I’m Mel's sister in law. I'm 49 and am Manager of a Children's Day Nursery. Until November last year I ran 3 or 4 times a week including parkrun every Saturday. Never fast but always consistent! I had surgery in January 2019 for a 2.3cm herniated disc so not allowed to run until 12 weeks post surgery but am walking a lot at the moment, although hope to be at least jogging slowly by the end of May! I also suffer from Meniéres Disease, which basically causes vertigo attacks, hearing loss, inner ear pressure & tinnitus amongst other things. I have done a sponsored 13k walk before but never run further than 7k in one go so will probably be walking most of this 10k! Proud to be part of this to support Mel and our amazing body positive team!
Hi I’m Emma, @Mel Humphreys’ favourite niece and @Tracy Butterfields (Tracy) favourite daughter! I’m 28yrs old. I am an army generalist nurse but I am currently at uni doing my specialist training to become a medical centre/GP nurse specialist. I haven’t ran once this year yet! But do walk our gorgeous 9 month old Ronnie dog regularly. I have a holiday booked very soon, and then plan to pick my training up after that! Really looking forward to it.
Back to our motivation!
The idea was to run this, and for the Severn Hospice, and was mine. I am currently living with stage 4 breast cancer and having to have ‘real’ conversations about dying and what death may look like has been a huge emotional deal for me. Through listening to great podcasts such as #youmebigc I’ve realised that talking about things and facing them head on makes it all a little less scary @bowelbabe and @girlsvscancer have been a great inspiration.
The level of care provided by any Hospice is priceless, and delivered for free. Of course, the reality is that the Hospice has to be self-sufficient and this cannot happen without donations and fundraising. Please help our cause and be amazing by digging deep and sponsoring our group. For every £1 you donate, they will spend 88p directly on patient care. Last year, all those individual donations added up to £8.98 million - how amazing is that!?
Thank you all so much!
Mel, Sue, Hayley, Max, Leanne, Holly, Cara, Gill T, Gill M, Helen, Nicky, Tracy and Emma.
Vitality London 10km Training!
#domoreforstage4 #dying matters #getting busy living #bodypositivity #VitalityLondon10k #CelebrateYou #youmebigc #inspiration #this girl can #feelconfident #chemo #cancerresearchuk #cruk #recoverygoals #PositiveVibes #be strong #gofurther #beyou #running #women in sport #shelovestri #life after cancer #dyingmatters #hospice #cancer