On April 17th I ran the 2011 VIRGIN LONDON MARATHON for St Elizabeth Hospice, Ipswich. I commited to raise £2000 for them, but It doesn't have to stop there! Donations always gratefully recieved! Find out how I got on at http://kellypritchard.wordpress.com/ I ran in memory of my Step-Sister Natasha. This is why.....
On the Hospice
On 2nd August, my Step-Sister and best friend of 18years Natasha passed away peacefully and with dignity at The St Elizabeth Hospice, Ipswich, after a 6 year struggle against brain tumours. She was only 34 years of age. She was a remarkable and courageous woman who left a significant and lasting impression on everybody that ever had the pleasure of meeting her. (Not least some of the staff at the Hospice who grew very fond of her during her two week stay.) The care and attention administered by their staff, and the facilities and services they provided not only for Natasha, but for us family and friends was truly astounding. I cannot stress enough the monumental difference they made in enabling us to deal with all the emotional and logistical difficulties that are we were faced with during such a traumatic time. I was cautious when Tash insisted on living out her last days at the Hospice, so I accompanied her on a visit to make an assessment. We were immediately overwhelmed by the building, the services and the tranquil gardens, but most of all by the attitude of the staff. Pretty soon all previous misconceptions and fears were allayed. We quickly learnt that the Hospice is a place of life and hope, not death and despair. Watching a loved one fade away before your very eyes is distressing to say the least, and I enthusiastically welcome any opportunity to make sure that others are able to benefit from the Hospice and all it has to offer. The Hospice staff are the sweet sugar coating on a very bitter pill.
My sister was warm, caring, outgoing, intelligent, funny, generous, hard-working, determined, incredibly dignified & beautiful, yet she was completely oblivious to all her amazing qualities, uncomfortably shunning compliments and praise. She was an adventurer, travelling the world working on cruise ships and later had a focused career in finance. Whilst undergoing treatment at Addenbrookes, she undertook her accountancy exams and subsequently won an award in recognition of her achievements in the face of such usually debilitating circumstances.
She refused to ever behave like a 'sick person' and would never entertain the suggestion of finding solace in the company of others in the same situation. She clung on to her life as she wanted it be right to the very last breath. On our last holiday to Cornwall she demonstrated that spirit more so than ever during a visit to The Eden Project. None of us wanted to see her struggle or in pain, so we brought the wheel chair. (Latterly her tumours were affecting her motor strip, which made her left side weak). She flattley refused to use it and walked around the whole site and through both bio-domes holding her Fathers arm. From this, the phrase “Me 'n' You, Super-Glue” was born!! We were in awe of her attitude and also of her on-going sense of humour.
We engaged in many conversations about what she wished to do with her life given the news that she had very little of it left. Visiting The Grand Canyon? A Trip to Las Vegas? Meeting a Hollywood celeb? Nope, she wanted none of these. Tash wanted to retain the right to do all the things that had represented a 'Normal' life. The right to bear children, the right to drive a car, the right to own a home, the right to life, and most importantly to her, the right to work. One by one, she was stripped of all these things. It is my aim to honour those rights for her.
It has always been on my own bucket list to run a marathon. This will be my first time, and what better incentive to do so. Tash's memory will keep me going on those long dark winter morning training runs!
Shortly before Tash's death a close Aunt of hers, Kate, shared with us all a copy of the poem "Miss me but let me go" . Inspired by the words, and having promised my sister I would sing at the funeral I had helped her to arrange, i set about writing a song with my band Chasing Storms. I then set the music to photographs to make a video, the link for which is on this page. Tash shared close relationships with numerous friends and family members however the video is Tash from my personal perspective. Photos are included of the Hospice gardens, and also of a recent trip to Cornwall that she treated our side of the family to.
As a band we have also performed at Cancer Research UK 'Race for Life events.
Listen to more of our music at www.myspace.com/chasingstormsmusic
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