A challenge in sight for Dispensing Optician Toni

100 Days to LONDON: One Dispensing Opticians Journey to the Marathon. 

Read Toni's heartfelt story about how she is about to embark on this challenge of a lifetime. 


Like many people, I had one person who influenced my life more than any other. I was raised largely by my Grandmother and to me she was (is) my hero.  We had such a close bond and as I grew up and moved away to start my own family, that bond remained. We would call each other every day. My Grandmother lived alone and I hated the thought that she may be lonely. She was young at heart, and a very spirited lady, so when in 2012 she was diagnosed with end stage Lung Cancer, she vowed to fight.  The Doctors gave her months; she fought hard for almost 3 years.  We still called each other every day, except Fridays. Fridays were her Hospice day. She was a day patient at Severn Hospice and she loved it. They gave her the spirit to continue. She loved the activities they provided, she loved the company and she especially loved the dinners! Nothing could have stopped her from going. As she became more unwell, they increased their care and support. If I or my aunts were working, she always had someone on the end of the phone she could talk to.

When she was diagnosed, we made each other a few promises. I promised her I would be by her side throughout it all. She asked me to promise her not to mourn, but celebrate. A near impossible task when it’s someone you care so much about. In turn, she promised not to haunt me if it turned out this was possible! I kept my first promise, as I was there every step of the way. When she passed peacefully, in August 2015, she was not alone.  And…. so far I don’t feel like I need to call the ghostbusters in!

The other promise was harder to keep. In 2016, I watched the London Marathon and cried the whole race. Every year previous, the phone had rung, my Nan -as I called her- telling me how exhausted she was from “armchair racing” the marathon. She loved it, and often watched the entire race! This year the phone didn’t ring. Then I remembered my promise, I figured, “Hey, why don’t I run the marathon in her memory?” I would raise money for the hospice that meant so much to her and looked after her so well. So I made my applications. Having only ever really run 5K previously, everyone I spoke to thought I was crazy! Well, come October when the places are allocated, I was told I didn’t make the ballot or the charity place. I was sad, but a little relieved it was getting cold and I still wasn’t really a “runner” as such. I stopped training, and went back to just enjoying cake and tea of an evening.

Well, this all changed on Friday 13th January. Exactly 100 days until the London Marathon, when the charity co-ordinator for Severn Hospice rang telling me a place had now become available would I still like to run?



….ME? Of course I said yes! After all, I have inherited my Nans spirit.  So, please support this fabulous charity, and my crazy determination as I take this challenge. For the love of my Hero.


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