Jo, from Cambridge, is running the London Marathon this year to raise money for Cruse Bereavement Care. Jo is taking on her first marathon to say thank you to Cruse after they supported her after the death of her mum and dad.
“I want to run the London Marathon to thank Cruse Bereavement Care for the support they gave me during the hardest period in my life.
“It was a few months after my 30th birthday when life as I knew it changed forever. What should have been one of the most exciting times of my life - achieving career, relationship and personal goals became the most difficult. In the space of three years, my sister and I lost our mum and dad to cancer.
“Of course, I tried to put on a brave face, throwing myself into work (leaving my emotions at the door, as was the way back then); and into my friendships and social life - but it just wasn’t the same; and faking it was becoming increasingly hard.
“Thankfully, around 8 months after we lost mum and 7 months after dad was diagnosed, I admitted I needed help and found Cruse.
“I soon began to see a local Cruse bereavement supporter who gave me judgement free, objective advice and support that was invaluable. She showed great kindness, care, compassion, empathy and trustworthiness which allowed me to be open and honest with her about my grief and start my healing journey.
“The sessions also helped me in other ways too. As one of the first people in my network to lose a parent my friends felt able to talk to me about what is still a taboo subject. I was able to be of help and offer compassion, advice and support. And rather than shying away from these difficult conversations, I gained the confidence to ask, ‘but how are you really?’ to those who had experienced a loss or were going through tough times. I also found myself, re-visiting past events where friends had lost a loved one, when I didn’t ‘get it’, where I hadn’t understood the magnitude of what those friends were going through. I honestly believe Cruse has helped me to be a better friend in this respect.
“I feel very lucky to have had access to Cruse during this difficult time. They were integral in helping me to cope with the grieving process and come to terms with my life without my mum and dad. In the future I would like to become a bereavement volunteer for Cruse so that I can support others in the way that Cruse supported me.
“In the meantime, I want to give something back by running the London Marathon for Cruse. Whilst I am pretty nervous about what lies ahead, I am looking forward to the challenge. Last year I completed two half marathons, so running a full marathon feels like the natural next step. It has always been a bucket list item for me and so now feels like the now or never moment!”
To help Jo reach her fundraising target, please visit her Virgin Money Giving sponsorship page here.