Last year, Nadia, a registered nurse, ran her first ever marathon and raised £879 for Martlets. She explains how she prepared for the challenge and tells us about her student nursing placement at Martlets. Will her story inspire you to run for us in 2022?
“I’m a Brighton person through and through and my family know so many people who have benefitted from Martlets’ care. I also have a personal connection with the Hospice as I did my student nursing placement there in 2018. Running a marathon was something I’d got on my bucket list, so I thought why not just give it a go. Martlets provides such a wonderful service, and it relies on community fundraising to keep going. So, it made sense to run for them and to raise some money in support.
Knowing I was running for Martlets really spurred me on. When I didn’t feel like training, I thought about all they do for local people, and it kept me motivated.
I applied to run in 2019, but everything was postponed in 2020 because of COVID. It was 2021 before I was able to go ahead; it was an exhausting experience, but so great to take part. It’s just really emotional when you pick a charity that you’re passionate about. It was lovely to have that in my head when things felt tough on the day — about 20 miles into the run. They say you hit a block at some point, when you feel you can’t go on; mine was between Hove Lagoon and the power station.
It was so uplifting to have crowds of people cheering us on and that really helped. Although it was a massive physical and emotional battle, it was totally worth it when I crossed the finish line. It felt like such an achievement. And there was this wonderful team of Martlets people at the end handing out sweet things and drinks. I was even offered an amazing massage for my tired muscles. They were so supportive and thankful, and I just felt proud to represent them. I raised £879 on my Just Giving page thanks to the generosity of friends, family and local people.
I’d say to anyone thinking of taking part: ‘Give it a go’. Obviously, get checked out to make sure you’re medically fit enough. But you’d be surprised at what you can achieve if you train steadily and keep in mind why you’re doing the run. I’m not a super-fit person, but somehow I managed it! I had always donated clothes to Martlets’ shops but wanted to try a bigger challenge and it really was worth it. The fundraising team at Martlets will give you all the support you need. And you might find that training with a friend spurs you on too.
My student nurse placement at Martlets was so rewarding. It made me realise what a privilege it is to share special moments with people as they approach the end of their lives.
I had always been keen to do a nursing placement at Martlets. However, I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew hospice care would be different to working in a hospital. I was fortunate to spend time there in the summer of 2018, just before the COVID pandemic began. Where I did a couple of weeks with the Hospice at Home community team and then two weeks on the inpatient unit (IPU). It was just the most eye-opening and lovely experience. I had done a lot of placements in a hospital setting. But at Martlets there was so much more time to really care for patients. My month there was one of the best experiences I’ve had. When I’m a bit older, I’d love to go back and work there permanently. It’s a different way of nursing that is so rewarding.
It took me a while to get my head around the fact that Martlets isn’t a sad or depressing environment. Yes, patients and families are going through some of their worst times, and it can be very emotional. But it is actually an uplifting place that is lovely to work in because everyone realises how precious life is. I felt so privileged to be there for people when they were at their most vulnerable.
It’s just amazing how the staff make Martlets an environment where it feels like a home from home for people.
The rooms on the IPU open on to the gardens and we had lovely weather the summer I was there. It made such a difference for patients and families to connect with the flowers and birds; it is such a peaceful place.
I also went out into the community and visited patients at home. That was such a powerful experience; you are being invited into someone’s personal space and into the details of their life. It feels so intimate taking care of them in their own space. It was hard to see how much someone might deteriorate in just a few weeks over several visits. It’s impossible not to feel emotionally attached to the lovely people we were visiting. But it was amazing to be able to spend these precious moments with them.
It’s been so tough for clinical staff everywhere throughout COVID and I know that morale has been low in nursing. So, I really hope that we start to move out of the pandemic soon and can get back to happier times. It would be wonderful to get back to how it was that summer, and to be able to hug people and to see each other’s faces again without masks. That makes such a difference when you are caring for people.
I will always remember the time I spent at Martlets, and I hope you will consider supporting them in whatever way you can. Perhaps this could be the year you run your first marathon!”
Take on a challenge for Martlets
To find out more about running the Brighton Marathon or how to take part in other challenge events like the new 50k Brighton Marathon Bike Ride, please visit our website page. Or call our fundraising team on 01273 747455, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org