Meet our Hospice Hero Emma Mason
On the 19 May Emma Mason will take part in our annual Midnight Walk. The theme is this year ‘Hospice Heroes’ to celebrate the many amazing people that support us, so we can continue to offer our services free of charge. This is Emma’s story:
“Mum was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in September 2014. For the next two years, life was a blur but through it all, the one constant for myself and my son Max, 5, was the support and help from the wonderful staff at Woking & Sam Beare Hospice. We would have been lost without them.
The doctor referred Mum to the charity straight after her diagnosis – she had a type of MND which typically progresses quickly, but as it’s such a variable disease we really didn’t know what to expect.
Max and I moved from Yately to live with Mum to help her as she was determined to stay in her flat in Knaphill, which really wasn’t ideal as it was quite small and on the first floor. Ultimately she passed away there as she wanted in November 2016.
She was only able to have that choice thanks to the ongoing care and specialist equipment given by Amanda, our hospice nurse, and Cherry, her physiotherapist. They helped us to get used to our ‘new normal’ with each step of the disease and they became like part of the family to us.
I was Mum’s full-time carer and I really cherish the time that we spent being so close, much as it was very hard to see her change and struggle as the MND progressed. I was feeding her through a tube every four hours for the last eight months of her life. It was the hardest job I’ve ever done and towards the end I felt I was willing it to be over as it was so painful to see her suffering. She spent a week in the summer in the hospice for respite. That was wonderful as it gave us all a rest but otherwise all her care was received at home.
After Mum died I spent a couple of months feeling an overwhelming relief that she was at peace but as my grief took over I needed another focus. I had already signed up to run the 2017 London Marathon for the hospice. I received my place in October, so Mum knew I would be taking part and she left £1,000 in her will to sponsor me. I’m not a natural runner – I’m built for comfort, not for speed – so I‘ve had to train hard and that really has saved me. I first did the Windsor Half Marathon in 2015. Last year I did the Surrey Half Marathon, and I’m doing it again this March for the hospice. I’ll be going to Boston to run a half marathon there the week before the London Marathon.
I ran my first 16 miles in early February, the furthest I’ve ever run. Now I am feeling pure fear about where I’ll find the extra energy to run a further 10 miles when I run the marathon! I’ve had great support for my fundraising. Mum lived in Knaphill for 13 years and she helped in the community delivering Meals on Wheels, so many people knew her. I was aiming to raise £3,000 from running the marathon but I have already received £3,600 in sponsorship. I was almost housebound with Mum for the last 8 months of her life so facebook became a lifeline for me, and people have been so generous through there too.
I want to shout from the rooftops how wonderful Woking & Sam Beare Hospice has been to us as a family. The care and support continues for us even now Mum has gone. We’ve gone to the ‘Tea for Me’ monthly support group the hospice runs for those with MND and their families. I’ve had weekly counselling, and Max is also about to begin counselling with their Footsteps group for under 12s. It has been a confusing and upsetting time for him too, but I know that the group will help him for as long as he needs.
I want to raise as much as possible for the hospice because without them I don’t know how we would have all coped. I’ve started working again at Bisley Vets and life is moving forward for us but Woking & Sam Beare Hospice is still an important part of that process. I want everyone to know what a difference their help – both with Mum’s care and for Max and myself after she’d gone – has made.”
Click here for Emma’s Just Giving page.
You can donate to Emma’s fundraising by texting: WSHB78£5 to 70070.
Fund out more about our Midnight Walk here.