A keen runner whose gran was cared for at St Giles Hospice is calling on people to sign up for #TeamStGiles in this June’s Great Midlands Fun Run.
Sarah Austin, 26, from Burton, who now works at St Giles as Lead Reception/Transport Coordinator, is asking people who have signed up for the event to make a real difference to the local charity by lacing up their running shoes and joining the team of hospice runners.
Supporters and staff at St Giles are uniting with fundraisers to take part in this year’s run, starting at 11am on Sunday, 2nd June, in Sutton Coldfield, and they will be cheering each other on every step of the way.
Sarah said: “The great thing about joining the team is that you become part of a community, a family. When you’re taking part in the run it doesn’t matter where you are in the pack – even if you’re near the back – there’s always somebody around you who you know. Everybody supports each other.
“It also gives you a sense of purpose – a bit of extra incentive. You know that you’re doing it for a good reason. Everyone in the team is in it together. You don’t have to be a certain ability or level of fitness to join the team – we all support each other.”
The Great Midlands Fun Run follows an 8.5-mile tarmac route which starts in Sutton Coldfield town centre and takes in the rural tranquility of Sutton Park before returning to the town for a rousing reception at the finishing line.
There’ll be elaborate fancy dress costumes, buggies, four-legged participants and plenty of orange-clad St Giles staff and volunteers cheering on runners and taking part on the day.
Sarah is particularly proud to be a part of #TeamStGiles because her gran Shirley Logan was cared for at St Giles in 2005 before her death from cancer.
Sarah took up running last year to support the work of St Giles and has since taken part in the Great North Run and the St Giles Hospice Rudolph Run in Tamworth.
She was only 12 when her gran died of cancer but she has been grateful to St Giles ever since the care she was given and the support the family was offered afterwards.
She added: “My gran could not have been in a better place and the care staff here were amazing. She always said that she was being so well looked after and she could not thank people enough.
“My gran was my best friend and we all knew that she was nearing the end of her life. Even though she was receiving the very best care it was a very daunting experience. But everybody was so nice to the family – they tried to make it seem as normal as possible to put us at our ease.
“On the day she passed away my family and I walked away from St Giles and, of course, we were very sad – but everybody at St Giles had worked so hard to make everything so lovely for my gran, we were so thankful. Ever since I have had such a passion for St Giles because the care they gave us all was so phenomenal.”
Elinor Eustace, Director of Fundraising at St Giles Hospice, said: “The Great Midlands Fun Run is a fantastic event – now in its 16th year – and we’d love to invite anybody taking part to be a part of #TeamStGiles. We want to take part alongside our supporters and be with them every step of the way.
“You can raise funds as you run and know that you are making a vital contribution to a cause which helps so many people and their families living with potentially-incurable illnesses across this area.
“As a team, we’ll walk, jog or run side-by-side with you on the day to offer you all of our support and encouragement you need and as part of our dedicated team we can support you with training tips and fundraising guides to help you reach your target.”