Family tragedy prompts woman to run London Marathon for Butterfly Fund

Caroline Hollands with Sarah Ryan, the palliative care nurse who looked after her mother Sharon, and her father Geoff Fisher. Photo: My WiSH Charity.

It was a family tragedy just a few days before Christmas which prompted Caroline Hollands into taking part in the London Marathon and at the same time raising money for charity.

The 47-year-old, who lives on the family farm at Brockley with her husband Ben, children Isabel, William and Tilly along with her father Geoff, 74, and brother Gavin, took to the streets of the capital in October.

And the member of the Moreton Hall Runners raised a total of £1,600 from her efforts for the My WiSH Charity, with the money going to the Butterfly Fund at the West Suffolk Hospital.

It will be used to enhance care for end of life patients and to support the family members. 

The fund has previously bought day beds so family members can stay the night and funds a palliative care nurse for a day a week as well as providing comfort packs which contain toothbrush and paste, water, wipes and tissues, notepad and pen, mints and a chocolate, for family members so they can stay.

Caroline, who runs the family farm with her brother and also works part time in the accounts department at Northgate Foods, in Olding Road, Bury St Edmunds, decided to raise the money for the hospital charity following the death of mother Sharon who died aged 65, on December 21, 2017, following a stroke. 

“Mum just had this massive stroke and sadly died 26 hours later. It was a hell of a shock” said Caroline. “I just wanted to give something back to the hospital for the care and support they gave to my mother and I ran it in her memory. I should have run the London Marathon three years ago, but it got cancelled.”

Her time of five hours eight minutes was a disappointment for Caroline and she said: “The first half I was doing really good and in my 24 years of running I have never hit a brick wall but I did going over Tower Bridge. The second half was hard work but it was an amazing day,” she added.

Sally Daniels, fundraising manager for My WiSH, thanked Caroline for her fantastic fundraising and said: “This event was really important to Caroline as Sharon was also a runner so what better way to celebrate her than to conquer the London Marathon. It was a pleasure to meet Caroline and Geoff and to be able to reunite them with Sarah who looked after Sharon and the family back in 2017. We can’t thank them enough for their support”. 

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