Born to Run: Hospice physiotherapist Miriam and friend Bev to do Virtual London Marathon for Wirral Hospice St John’s

#healthcare #hospicehero #wirralhospice  #physiotherapy #caring #wellbeing  #fun  #thankyou

Hospice Physio Miriam – with hospice colleagues wishing her well

If you’ve done, or can imagine doing, a London Marathon in normal times, you’ll have trained hard, loaded up with carbs, seen all the publicity build as the day approaches and organised your thoughts about how the day will pan out for you.

There would normally be thousands of people gathering ready to run, jog, trot, plod and, maybe, even walk for a myriad of good causes. Many others would line the streets to cheer on their friends, family and all the other runners around the course.

A huge gathering of humanity and goodwill spurs the runners on and helps them to get ‘over the line’.

However, on Sunday 4th October, and far away from the Capital, thousands of people will still be completing gruelling runs for their chosen charities, just without the extra impetus provided by the crowd.

So, think about doing that 26.2 miles when only you, and one friend, cheered off by a small gathering of your social bubble, are relying on true grit and self-belief to get you around?

Well, that’s what Wirral Hospice St John’s Physio, Miriam Lemon and her friend, Bev Tasker, will be doing on Sunday 4th October, 2020.

Yes, they’re in the 40th London Marathon after more places were made available to allow people to run the distance closer to home on a route of their own choosing (the London course will not be open!)

Miriam and Bev’s route – taking in the Wirral Coastline

We trust Bev will be a great running mate (Miriam says so) and with a number of family, friends and hospice colleagues volunteering to complete sections of the run alongside the pair of marathoners, socially distanced of course, we’re sure they’ll complete the distance with flying colours.

We took the opportunity to find out a little bit more about Miriam, her family and her life at Wirral Hospice St John’s. Before I spoke to her I asked one or two of her colleagues for their opinion on her and her chances:

Her whole family are like the sporting family from the card game Happy Families. She’ll smash it, we call them The Incredibles.

Miriam laughs when I tell her this and with typical humility she says, “I’m the least incredible.”

Daughter, Imogen, 13, is an accomplished short course swimmer and has competed in the Welsh National Championships, while son, Toby, 11, is an all-rounder enjoying football but with his coaches at the Deeside Amateur Athletics Club nurturing a talent for running at all distances from sprinting to 5k (under 21 minutes already!). Incredible!

It turns out husband, Dave (pictured above running with Toby), has completed 5 of the 6 ‘World Marathon’ series in Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, New York and has only Tokyo to go! Incredible!

The Incredibles on a family hike: L-R, Miriam, Toby, Imogen, Dave and their dog, Lexi

For her part Miriam claims she’s not really a runner. Her sports are Netball, she once starred for Anglesey’s Valley Vixens, and she rowed, most notably for the renowned Worcester Rowing Club.

So why is she running this year?

Miriam had challenged herself that in the year she turns 40 she would complete the ‘Chester Triple’, an annual three event challenge encompassing an organised 10km run, followed by a half marathon and either a ‘metric marathon’, 26km, (which Miriam had signed up for) or a full traditional marathon later in the year.

However, having duly completed the 10k on 8th March, the other events were cancelled in the light of COVID 19. Miriam decided to complete the half on her own in Lockdown and now the (Virtual) London Marathon will round off her own personal triple in 2020. Incredible!

At the hospice Miriam is one of the physiotherapists in our Patient and Family Services team.

She qualified from Keele University early in the new millennium. From there she has worked in the NHS in Worcestershire, moved around with Dave who is in the RAF, taking in Cyprus between 2008 and 2011, via Anglesey and Surrey, where she was able to apply her physiotherapy skills to people in intensive care and to support acute medicine.

Miriam’s now been at Wirral Hospice St John’s for 3 years and explains how physiotherapy fits into the overall support and care we offer patients,

“Our job is to maximise people’s potential, building strength, balance and mobility. We want patients to be as independent as possible, helping them with breathlessness, symptom control, fatigue and anxiety. We’ve found that many patients can benefit from things like acupuncture, help with flexibility and by setting achievable goals people really manage well with their symptoms.”

On her colleagues at the hospice Miriam is heartfelt,

“They really are the best people I could have ever chosen to work with.”

With only 3 weeks before the Marathon all of her colleagues, friends and family will be spurring Miriam (and friend Bev) on. She’s created a Just Giving page at to raise funds towards Wirral Hospice St John’s specialist care and support services

It won’t be easy but there is a word for what she’ll feel when she reaches the finishing line on Sunday 4th October.

Now, What is it again?

Oh YES……… Incredible!

Have The Incredibles discovered the fountain of youth?

Today is #WorldCancerDay, raising awareness of the many aspects of caring for people affected by the disease #palliativecare

uicc_world_cancer_day_wirral_hospiceToday is World Cancer Day, a global awareness campaign co-ordinated by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). Thousands of cancer and health charities, along with Hospices are united together to let the world know what we are doing to support the various aspects of caring and supporting people affected by the disease:

  • Prevention
  • Early Detection
  • Treatment
  • Quality

The UICC have set down some firm World Cancer Declaration Targets to be met by 2025, the ones that most relate to us are set out in this Quality of Life factsheet.

At Wirral Hospice St John’s the majority of our patients have cancer. Although we also care for people with other illnesses such as heart disease, and respiratory and neurological conditions, cancer is still the most common disease we are providing end of life and palliative care for. Our role as a Hospice is to try to keep our patients as independent as possible for as long as they have;  we provide care and support in terms of medication management and symptom control but we also provide practical guidance such as financial advice to help people plan for their families’ future when they are no longer around. In addition to that, we offer health and well-being support in the form of physiotherapy, creative therapy, aromatherapy and relaxation techniques. We care for each patient on an individual basis; no two patients have identical illnesses or needs or wishes in how they’d like to be cared for.

Families are at the heart of everything we do at Wirral Hospice St John’s, so we not only look after our patients but try to give us much support as we can to their loved ones as well. Whilst our patients are still with us, but also after they’ve gone we go on to provide bereavement support for as long as it’s needed by carers and families.

If you are a patient, or care or relative of a patient, and you think you or someone close to you might benefit from care at Wirral Hospice St John’s, please speak with your GP, your consultant, your nurse specialist or district nurse and they can advise you on the procedure for being referred into our care. Please also call us directly on 0151 334 2778 if you have any questions or queries – we are open 24hrs a day, all year round.

Author: Teresa Nightingale

Elaine Pugh, Outpatient Services Manager on patient care and the new build #familiesmatter

wirral_hospice_elaine_pugh_outpatients_services_managerElaine Pugh has been a health and social care professional for thirty years, and Outpatient Services Manager at Wirral Hospice St John’s for the last two. She is passionate about supporting patients, their families, and also the wider circle of carers who surround them.

“People can live well with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses. We support patients with a whole range of services, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social care, creative therapies, spiritual support and complementary therapies. Treating each person on an individual level is so important to ensuring that they get care and support that is tailored specifically to their needs.”

To this end, Elaine has researched the views of patients through focus groups to identify how best the Hospice can enrich its care. She is fired with enthusiasm as she sees the organisation increasingly reaching out in its quest to create a ‘Hospice without walls’.

“This new building at the Hospice is going to be a fantastic resource. It will give us the ability to help all those patients affected by these serious conditions and also support the professionals who care for them.

We can now welcome in other professionals who would normally be based elsewhere, sharing our skills with them and theirs with us. For example, instead of just seeing a specific patient, an expert such as a dietician will be able to use our facilities and help to join-up the care.

Sharing knowledge with each other will give us all more insight into how patients can be helped. Of course, this principle can be replicated over so many areas. Read the rest of this entry »

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