Gratitude for the care received by her late mum spurred a Haverhill woman on to complete the Ely Festive 5K run in aid of the Arthur Rank Hospice.
Clare Clark, whose mum was cared for by the hospice in 2011, was among the speedy winners, imaginatively named teams, Christmas songs and wonderful fancy dress outfits, who took part in the run on Sunday.
Clare, who has two daughters, said: “I felt we had to do something for Arthur Rank Hospice after they cared for mum.
“At my 40th birthday in 2012, I asked for donations instead of presents.
“After I lost three stone ahead of my brother’s wedding and took up running I wanted to do something more and find a new fitness goal, so when the email came through about Arthur Rank’s Ely Festive 5K that was perfect.
“I could run in memory of my mum.”
Clare’s mum, Ann Walker, received care from the hospice after she was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 2010.
Her husband, Clare’s father, had passed away in 1997 at the age of 52 after being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer.
Clare explained that both her parents believed – despite what their family and health professionals said – that going to a hospice was the same as giving up.
Clare said her Mum’s opinion changed after she spent some time at Arthur Rank Hospice: “Mum was bright and cheerful and wanted to know all about our holiday and was delighted to see her grandchildren.
“We had lots of banter in the coffee area mum was more confident and like the head of the family again.
“She told me how she had meals in the dining area, had been involved in activities and had even gone to a support group.
“I wheeled her around and she knew everybody’s name and obviously felt at home.
“It was like she had relaxed again.
“She had some of her confidence back and felt safe.”
Clare adds: “I felt very emotional finishing the run because I did it for Mum. “I know she would be very proud of my determination and courage this year.
“My parents had thought that hospices were places for dying but mum was able to see that they help you to live.
“I will always be grateful for the care and support mum got there.”