Birmingham St. Mary's Hospice cared for my mother in the winter of her life. She had a very advanced and invasive form of ovarian cancer that caused her tremendous pain and suffering. The staff at the Hospice cared for her with love and tenderness and were able to affect even the bleakest moments with their sublime and ridiculous comedy.

They tolerated my brother, in full cycling regalia, wheeling her bed out into the garden, included my aunt in helping care for my mother, were gracious to the endless stream of visitors and turned a blind eye to the flask of red wine I had to help me sleep in the chair next to her bed. And when my mother's time had come, they transferred us to a beautiful family suite (which the nursing staff proceeded to trash in their zealous care) where we were able to cook and drink and have one last party with my mom.

Birmingham St. Mary's also cared for the father (pictured with his beloved grey hounds) of my mom's precious, precious friend Lyn Holden, who's capacity for love is boundless and gift for storytelling has punctuated the saddest moments of my life with joy.

As I was woefully underprepared for this particular feat, I’d like to thank everyone for every penny of your encouragement (financial bribery) that got me around 26 miles of glorious Paris.

With much love,

Emilyx

Thank you Emily for sharing your story and for taking on the incredible challenge of the Paris Marathon to raise funds for us!

If you’ve been inspired by Emily and would like to follow her lead, we have spaces for the first Birmingham International Marathon this year and would love for you to join our team!