Maxine Dentith from Canterbury recently completed the London Marathon for Pilgrims Hospices. She ran in memory of her parents, Carol and Rob Parkinson, after her mum received care from the charity at the end of her life.
Maxine’s dad Rob had a brain tumour and died in 2008, at home and surrounded by his family. Shortly afterwards, her mum Carol was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Maxine said: “We went through some very tough times trying our best to care for Dad. When Mum was diagnosed two years later, we were completely devastated and couldn’t believe this was happening again.”
Carol had successful treatment for two years and was given the all clear, but sadly the cancer returned and spread. Maxine added: “The thing I remember most was how calm she was about it, she just wanted to be with Dad again. We had no time to prepare and the prospect of trying to care for her on our own and make her comfortable was so scary.”
Every single person we met at Pilgrims made us feel welcomed, supported and looked after. Often as a carer you can feel selfish for wanting someone to look after you for a change, but at the hospice they understood that we were going through a scary, emotional time and that we just wanted a hug from Mum and for her to make it all better.
When Carol was referred to Pilgrims, the family immediately began to feel supported. Maxine said: “The second we stepped through the doors, my sister and I burst into tears with relief, sadness, happiness – you name it, we felt it. Every single person we met at Pilgrims made us feel welcomed, supported and looked after. Often as a carer you can feel selfish for wanting someone to look after you for a change, but at the hospice they understood that we were going through a scary, emotional time and that we just wanted a hug from Mum and for her to make it all better. My daughter Faye was 1 by then and they welcomed her to the hospice too, not minding when she was racing up and down the corridor in a plastic car.
“Mum was made comfortable and we knew she was being well looked after. She was only there for four days before she passed away, but I can’t thank Pilgrims enough for providing us with a friendly, warm and happy environment during such a sad time.”
When Maxine had her second child, her son Sam, she really felt the loss of her mum not being there and experienced postnatal depression. Family and friends helped her through, and Maxine found that running gave her time to think and get some headspace. She then decided to challenge herself and take on the London Marathon for Pilgrims, to raise funds for the charity and highlight the vital work they do.
Maxine completed the London Marathon on Sunday 28 April 2019, raising an amazing £2,291.20 for local hospice care. She said: “It was one of the best experiences of my life, I loved every minute. Running over the iconic Tower Bridge was a highlight and meant I was nearly halfway. I was starting to feel tired at mile 16 but knew my family and friends were waiting for me at mile 17, which kept me going. Seeing them cheering me on and hearing their words of encouragement was really emotional but gave me the boost I needed to carry on.
“The last six miles, which I thought would be the hardest, were fantastic thanks to the support of the crowds. The streets were lined three or four people deep on both sides of the road for the entire home stretch, with people cheering my name and carrying me through the last few miles. When I crossed the finish line I was overcome with happiness and pride at what I had achieved. I knew my mum and dad would have been so proud of me.”
If you’d like to sponsor Maxine for completing the London Marathon, visit her Virgin Money Giving fundraising page.
Inspired to run the London Marathon for Pilgrims?
Alternatively, you can download the London Marathon application form PDF, complete and return it via email or post to:
- Robert Grew, Pilgrims Hospices, 56 London Road, Canterbury, Kent CT2 8JA
Please note: The minimum Gold Bond fundraising commitment is £1,800.
Applications will be accepted until Sunday 13 October 2019.