Former Lister carer to take on Brighton Half Marathon for Letchworth hospice
PUBLISHED: 17:00 23 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:00 23 February 2018
A former carer from Letchworth is taking on her first half marathon on Sunday in memory of her baby nephew, who passed away at 17 months old, and those she has cared for.
Hayley Cocks will take on the 13.1-mile Brighton course alongside her sister Shani Fielding for Garden House Hospice Care.
As a former carer for cancer patients at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital, Hayley has worked closely with the Letchworth-based hospice.
She told the Comet: “I gave care to patients who were extremely poorly with various cancers at different stages. Very often I would be involved in end-of-life care and the supporting of the loved ones left behind.
“It made me realise and appreciate how precious life is – how it can all be snatched away in the blink of an eye. I saw the hell that these people went through everyday. While it was extremely challenging mentally, it was also very rewarding.”
Hayley only began running in June last year, when she saw the North Herts Road Runners were advertising a beginners ‘couch to 5k’ group.
“I soon knew why I had never liked to run before,” said Hayley.
“It was tough – three minutes felt like hell!”
But Hayley has perservered, and will draw upon all that she has learnt come Sunday.
“For me this will be a massive challenge,” she said.
“I don’t have the best health myself, and I know every mile I will probably cry, get angry and want to give up. But what I will remember every step of the way is that I’m still alive to feel this temporary pain.
“Others aren’t so lucky and those that are here are in a pain they have no control over.
“I didn’t want to just ask people to donate. For me it isn’t about the sponsorship because I was doing the run anyway, but it’s a chance to make a donation to a fantastic cause.”
As a way of representing as many people as possible, Hayley has asked each person who has donated to take a cancer ribbon and write the name of a loved one who has either battled cancer or sadly lost their life to the disease.
She plans to sew the ribbons to the back of her running top in the shape of a heart.
She added: “I will run every step of the way with my heart and soul remembering the short term pain I’m feeling is very temporary, unlike theirs.”
To donate to Hayley’s cause, go to justgiving.com/fundraising/hayley-cocks1.