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Angels are giving up their wings to run the Great North Run

A group of friends named ‘Alfie’s Angels’ are to run the Great North Run this year to raise money for the Hospice after receiving invaluable support from the Bereavement Team.

Active supporter Beth Iveson, 28, from Houghton-le-Spring, has signed up to complete the 13.1 mile challenge with 7 of her closest friends in aid of St Oswald’s as a way to give back to the support she and her son Alfie received after the death of Alfie’s dad last year.

Alfie’s dad Richard aged 33, from Blyth died in June 2017 after a year long battle with a rare form of cancer called Sarcoma. After being referred to the Hospice for pre and post Bereavement support, Alfie now visits the Hospice regularly for a ‘safe place’ to talk about his feelings.

Realising the impact of the support they have received, Beth decided she wanted to give back to by taking some inspiration from her son Alfie, who often raises money for the Hospice, through; running the Junior Great North Run, holding bake sales and as mentioned last week, selling painted rocks to people passing his grandma’s house.

Beth tells us more about her motivations to take part in this year’s Great North Run.

I honestly don’t know why I picked the Great North Run, I can’t run at all but I suppose that’s the challenge. Alfie and his friends did the Mini & Junior Great North Run last year and have signed up again this year, so I thought it was time for me to challenge myself too.

 

I’ve managed to run just over 3 miles so far and I even walked half of that. The day will be interesting as we have a full mixture of people in our team, with some easily running the route multiple times and then others like me who have hardly done any training. We’ve all booked a spa day on the Monday, so at least we have that to look forward too!

 

St Oswald’s has a place in my heart, what they do is mind-blowing. I honestly don’t know where we’d be right now if it wasn’t for the support of the Bereavement Team there, it’s invaluable and the team don’t get enough credit for the incredible work they do with families. Beth, the Family Practitioner, specialises in children’s bereavement and I can’t shout enough about how much she has helped Alfie. She’s an absolute star, and that includes all the staff at St Oswald’s as they really make a fuss over Alfie when he comes in.

 

We know we can’t help everyone but Alfie has said if he helps at least one person it all would’ve been worth it. He can’t imagine anyone going through what he had to, so by fundraising for the Hospice it’s a way to help provide support for other families in their time of need.

 

I can’t believe something like this happened to us as you never think it will, but it’s been bittersweet I suppose. I’d do anything for this last year not to have happened, but then I never would have met everyone at the Hospice, made some great friends and found out about the incredible work carried out there.

Beth Gregan, Family and Bereavement Practitioner (Children’s Lead) said:

It’s lovely to see Alfie when he comes in, he’s such a positive person and really mature for his age. Watching him complete his fundraising challenges to raise money for the Hospice gives you an amazing feeling. I work closely with Alfie and we do a lot of crafts and painting but he is very energetic, the Mini & Junior Great North Run is perfect for him and to see Beth complete it too will be incredible. I know it will make Alfie so proud too.

Helen Alderson, Senior Fundraiser said:

It’s great to see families taking on challenges together, with Alfie completing the run the day before and Beth completing the 13.1 miles on the Sunday I know they will both be proud of each other. It’s an incredible and tough challenge but we can’t thank all of ‘Alfie’s Angels’ enough for taking part and raising money for St Oswald’s.

If you fancy challenging yourself and or want to try something new, you can join Team St Oswald’s for the Great North Run 2019. We’re will be offering places for just £14 – a 75% saving! This will be an online offer only for the duration of the run. Please visit our web page here.