Mum to take on half marathon challenge to support hospice charity

Alec, who was supported by St Nicholas Hospice Care.

Alec, who was supported by St Nicholas Hospice Care. - Credit: Archant

An Elmswell mum will run a half marathon to say thank you to a hospice that cared for her father in his final hours.

Emma Jelley.

Emma Jelley. - Credit: Archant

St Nicholas Hospice Care also supported Emma Jelley’s family following the loss of Alec, 72, who had suffered with cancer.

Emma, 49, is taking part in the Simplyhealth Great East Run next month as part of a team of 10 from St Nicholas Hospice, where she now works as a PA.

The mother-of-two said: “My Dad was a very quiet man from a farming background and loved sailing.

“Once we arrived in the hospice, he was calm and very much at peace. I firmly believe that he knew he had been moved to a quiet, calm environment as he seemed to relax.

Alec and Rosie the dog.

Alec and Rosie the dog. - Credit: Archant

“The doctors and ward staff made us feel so welcome. Nothing was too much trouble. They had a way of making us feel like we were the only people that this was happening to and that they were completely there to help us.”

Alec has been first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009 and was successfully treated at Ipswich Hospital.

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However, in a few years he developed leukaemia that was a shock to the whole family. Luckily, after the intensive chemotherapy treatment he managed to beat the disease and was in remission.

But in January 2015 Alec was diagnosed with bone cancer and this time the doctors told him there was only palliative care available to him.

Emma Jelley.

Emma Jelley. - Credit: Archant

He received great care at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, but wanted to spend his final hours in a quieter and less busy place.

In June 2015, the family transferred Alec to St Nicholas Hospice where he spent his final 11 hours with his family.

The hospice offered Emma and her mum bereavement counselling. Emma said she feels very thankful for the amazing team who helped her and her mum to deal with their grief.

“The offer of the Bereavement Counselling Service was made when Dad died but it wasn’t until just after the first anniversary of his death that I made use of it and my mum only this year.

Alec and his daughter Emma Jelley.

Alec and his daughter Emma Jelley. - Credit: Archant

“This is something I wish I had not taken so long to take up but even now, three years later, I can still book time to speak to someone if I need to.

“Grief is an odd thing. Everyone deals with it differently. I have found this third year since Daddy died far tougher than the previous years. The counselling has proved a complete godsend to me.”

Last year Emma decided to go back to running and started her ‘Get fit for 50’ routine.

Now she is busy preparing for the Simplyhealth Great East Run, which returns to Ipswich on Sunday, September 16.

The half marathon is a sold-out event where runners can take on a challenge across a scenic course that starts and finishes in Ipswich town centre.

It starts and finishes on Russell Road and takes runners through many landmarks, such as Holywells Park, Ipswich waterfront, Orwell Bridge and Ipswich Town Football Club’s Portman Road stadium.

For more information about the Simplyhealth Great East Run, see here.

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