"I wanted to challenge myself. Do something out of my comfort zone."

In September 2019 Jenny Pike challenged herself to complete the Great North Run in memory of her daughter, Anna, who was cared for at Eden Valley Hospice.

Jenny explained,

“My daughter Anna had an extremely rare form of cancer. Sadly, all treatments were unsuccessful, and Eden Valley Hospice provided my daughter with amazing care and allowed her to live as independently as possible during her final months.

“When she was staying in the hospice, we were allowed to stay with her. I cannot praise the hospice and its staff highly enough. Eden Valley Hospice has also been there for our family and I myself have benefitted greatly from the counselling and alternative therapy sessions.

“I wanted to challenge myself. Do something out of my comfort zone. There would’ve been much easier ways to raise money. I also wanted to make Anna proud, she would’ve laughed too. I have watched the Great North Run a few times when my youngest daughter has run it and always been amazed at the determination and touched by the stories and I always said ‘I could never do that’.”

On Sunday 8 September 2019 Jenny joined tens of thousands of other runners all completing the Great North Run. Every runner had their own memory, reasons and purpose for completing the iconic 13.1mile challenge.

Jenny continued,

“The best part of the run was the support from the spectators all the way round. Shouting out my name, and Anna’s once, together with words of encouragement. Also handing out sweets etc. and (the best thing) ice lollies! It was a hot day!

“The hardest part was the training. Especially as I injured my Achilles’ tendon and my taking part in the run was looking doubtful. Sports physio together with rest and an exercise plan got me ‘good enough to go.’ I am not a runner. I enjoy walking but have only ever run for a bus or train before, or half-heartedly in school sports!

“I would say to anyone, never say never. With effort and determination it can be done. I ran at a steady pace but many people run/walk it. Some walk it. The emotional feeling you get when you cross that finish line is totally amazing. If I can turn myself into a runner at 68 years old, so can anyone!”

Whether you take part in the Great North Run or undertake your own fundraising challenge you can make a difference to the care, support and activities provided to adults and children with life limiting illnesses. Motivation for completing a challenge is all around us, from remembering a loved one to supporting a charity in your local community, you will make a difference.

Jenny concluded,

“The whole Great North Run experience gave me something to focus on after the worse thing in my life happened to me. I am so proud of what I’ve achieved, and I know Anna would be too. She was with me all the way round the course.

“I did it for her and I raised nearly £3,000 for the hospice. It was so encouraging and heart-warming to read the comments on my JustGiving page. Anna touched many hearts and meant so much to so many people. I would like to thank them all for their thoughtful words, encouragement and donations to the hospice. They have restored my faith in human nature.”