Posted on Tuesday 23 April 2019
CLIC Sargent social worker taking on London Marathon for families and young people she supports
When the going gets tough for CLIC Sargent social worker Lucy Hill, running her first Marathon later this month, she will think of the children and young people with cancer and their families who she supports.
Among those young people inspiring Lucy will be 16 year old Shannon Gilliland who died from a rare form of cancer in September last year.
Lucy supported Shannon and her family after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2017 by providing emotional, practical and financial support.
The social worker, who has been part of CLIC Sargent’s team at The Royal Marsden Hospital for four years, said:
“Shannon was very keen to think about her legacy, and I was very struck by this. I looked into positive activities for Shannon that she could tick off her ‘bucket list’. I got to know her and her family very well and supported them through the emotional impact after Shannon passed away.
Before passing away Shannon told me that although she had cancer she still had her smile, her strength and her positivity and I will be holding onto those words when I’m struggling during the run. I hope in a small way that running the marathon is keeping her memory alive and bright.”
Lucy, 32, said “There is something very moving about running marathons and challenging yourself; the determination to keep going even when your body tells you to stop. It mirrors the determination I see in the young people I support.”
Lucy is in a unique position to understand what these young people are going through, as she herself was supported as a young adult by CLIC Sargent 10 years ago, when she was treated for Lymphoma. This experience later motivated her to work for the charity.
“In my role, I am often struck by the incredible endurance, resilience and determination of children, young people and their families – as they receive devastating news, undergo gruelling treatments, financial strain, and of course disruption to general life. The ability to keep going and somehow rebuild one’s life whatever the outcome is something I am incredibly touched by.”
Lucy has been training hard in preparation, sacrificing her weekends to fit in 18 mile practice runs.
Lucy said: “I’ve never run a marathon before but I love running- it’s a great outlet for stress and I’ve ran a few half-marathons. However, training for the London marathon has been such a huge commitment and a massive challenge- it can be hard to stay motivated.”
Although the emotional impact of working with childhood cancer and bereavement can be challenging, Lucy sees the difference that her work has on the families she supports.
“Being able to really get to know the families and young people I am working with and supporting them in the areas that really matter to them throughout their cancer journey is really rewarding”
Shannon’s father Don will also be running the London Marathon on 28 April, in memory of his daughter and to raise funds for CLIC Sargent.
Don said: “Lucy helped us massively with financial support and applying for a grant, as well as putting us in touch with an organisation that help to make dreams happen for young people who are unwell.
CLIC Sargent and Lucy’s support has been invaluable and it helped make Shannon’s last few months a little easier, with many happy and memorable moments. Lucy took a huge weight off and I can’t thank her enough.”
To sponsor Lucy’s London Marathon effort, go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lucy-hill38
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CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, and their families.
To find out more about how we help young people cope with the impact of cancer, please visit our what we do section. If you need support yourself please contact us using our online enquiry form or call 0300 330 0803.
For more information, please contact Martha Taylor-Rowe on 02087522812 or email Martha.firstname.lastname@example.org
About cancer in children and young people
Today, 11 more children and young people in the UK will hear the devastating news that they have cancer. Treatment normally starts immediately, is often given many miles from home and can last for up to three years. Although survival rates are over 80%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children and young people in the UK.
About CLIC Sargent
When cancer strikes young lives CLIC Sargent helps families limit the damage cancer causes beyond their health. CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading charity for young cancer patients and their families. We provide specialist support, to help and guide each young cancer patient and their family. We will fight tirelessly for them, individually, locally and nationally. For more information, visit www.clicsargent.org.uk
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