Stafford women fundraise for local hospice by running half marathon

Pictured above Hayley Gibbons with her daughters Arlo, Taylor and Indie after completing the Stafford Half Marathon and pictured right with mother Hilary Amison before she passed away in June 2020

Two women are among 3,100-plus participants who ran the Sunny Stafford Half Marathon to help raise money for charity.

Leala Winship from Stafford and Hayley Gibbons from Penkridge both have personal reasons for wanting to help Katharine House Hospice in Stafford, Staffordshire.

Leala ran the 10k in memory of her cousin Crystal who sadly passed away from cancer in July 2016, while Hayley competed in memory of her mother Hilary Amison who lost her battle with cancer in June 2020.

Together they raised over £ 1,400 and here tell us why they wanted to do it for Katharine House Hospice.

Leala has never done a half marathon before, but wanted to take up the challenge for a worthy cause.

The 41-year-old said: “I never thought I would have the stamina to do a half marathon, but after encouragement from a friend I run with, I decided to go for it and go for it. launch the challenge.

“Doing it as a fundraiser for Katharine House has been a great motivator and a special way to thank the hospice for all the great work they do.

“It’s also a great way to remember my cousin since it’s been five years this year since we lost her.

“I even have a close friend who works at the hospice and I know how much they need funds for a new roof and other resources, so I thought it was important to raise funds to help maintain the hospice. “

She was cheered on by the crowd and finished in two hours and 32 minutes.

She added: “It went better than expected and I’m really happy with the time I achieved. I actually enjoyed it more than I thought and the buzz of the crowd and everyone cheering along the way really helped me.

“At about nine miles I was really feeling the pain in my legs but the support from the other runners around me was great and kept me moving.

“The last few miles were the hardest, but I was more determined than ever not to stop and just pushed myself to get to the end.

Leala after the 10k and on the right with cousin Crystal

“Seeing my family and friends at the finish line was amazing and helped me finish with the biggest smile on my face!

“I think Crystal would have had the same smile on her face if she had been there, so it was a very proud moment.

“I am really happy with the amount I have raised so far for Katharine House Hospice. I wasn’t sure how many responses I would get, so I kept a low goal so it’s amazing to receive so much donation and support from family, friends, and coworkers.

“I’m hoping to raise some more money, so now I’ve risen to the challenge, aiming to get £ 500 in total, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.”

So far, she has raised over £ 340, which is triple her original goal or £ 100.

Hayley has run this length before, but about a decade ago, before she had three children and other commitments in life, the race was put aside.

The 33-year-old said: “Katharine House is a place very close to mine and the hearts of my family.

“My mother was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in 2017. After a few sessions of intensive chemotherapy, my mother’s health deteriorated and Katharine House was there to help and support my mother.

“I didn’t know much about the hospice at this point and started to panic thinking that my mom was heading for a hospice when you fear the worst. I did not know that a hospice is not only the place where people spend their last days, it is a place of rehabilitation and care, a respite for families who need extra support.

“My mother stayed there several times and finally got back to her meds and her life thanks to Katharine House. My deceased mom and dad had regular day hospice sessions and trips at no cost to the family and most importantly they met some fantastic people along the way, not only the staff but other families in the area. same situation as them.

“Unfortunately, in June 2020 during the pandemic, my mother’s health deteriorated terribly and the cancer spread further. This time there was nothing to do.

“Katharine House was there to help and Mom spent her last days in their care, surrounded by those she knew and loved.

“I will be eternally grateful to Katharine House and the support they have given our family for many years.

“I started running again to free myself from the grief of losing my mom and to clear my head and when I saw Katharine House looking for runners for this year’s half of Stafford I jumped on the opportunity to help. “

Hayley was even hit by Covid-19 in August, but that didn’t stop her, finishing in two hours and 17 minutes.

“My training took a hit from Covid-19, but I dug deep and had my mom with me in mind that day.

“The sun was shining on all of us which made it a bit more difficult, but the crowd really helped cheer up when times were tough.

“I cannot get all the money I have collected back. Katherine House deserves every penny and I just hope it helps a family the same way she helped ours.

“I want to say a big thank you to everyone who took the time to sponsor me, I never thought I was going to reach the amount I achieved.

“It shows how amazing Katharine House is, a charity.”

Hayley has raised over £ 1,000, double her original goal of £ 500.

To donate to Leala’s fundraising page Click here or to donate to Hayley’s to visit him JustGiving page.

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