Sometimes when I’m training for my upcoming Great North Run it isn’t just Jelly Babies that keep me going. Often when I feel tired I think of stories I’ve heard about the fantastic work done at Martin House Children’s Hospice, like this one – emotional stuff, but a great motivator.

 “My name is Jakki and I would like to share just a little part of my family’s story to show you just how important Martin House is. My baby grandson Thomas was born with a very rare life-limiting neuromuscular disorder and after a rollercoaster and heart breaking three months, mainly spent in hospital, my daughter Kirsty and her husband Tim knew they had very little time left with him. They were offered a room at Martin House and on Monday 27th February I left a very frightened and exhausted couple to settle in.

 I called in on the Tuesday morning to say hello to the little man and have a coffee with my daughter before I went to work. At Martin House they encourage the parents to sleep upstairs as they have nursing staff giving round the clock care to the children. My daughter had been sleeping on a camp bed in the hospital and this was her first night’s sleep for months.

 When I returned in the evening I was greeted with the wonderful sight of a huge smile on the faces of both Kirsty and Tim. They had had such a lovely day building memories. They had made photo frames and Christmas ornaments with Thomas’s fingerprints and also plaster casts of hand prints and footprints, but best of all was when Mary from Nuzzlets farm had brought in a four day old orphaned lamb. The lamb was placed in the cot with Thomas and he was able to stroke it; amazingly the lamb settled down and they both fell asleep together. The lamb was named Thomas in honour of that day.

 Sadly Thomas passed away the next day, but the help from Martin House didn’t end there. Thomas was taken to the Quiet Room (the lovely room at Martin House where children are laid to rest), which gave Kirsty and Tim the time they needed to come to terms with the loss of their son. They were given the emotional support and practical help they needed to organise the funeral. This help was extended to the whole family, and as grandparents we were helped in any way possible too. I cannot praise the work Martin House does highly enough, and I hope I have given you all just a tiny glimpse of how it can help so many people in times of extreme stress.”

 Indeed you have Jakki, which is why I want to raise as much money for Martin House as I possibly can. If you’d like to make a donation to my Great North Run appeal – and even as little as £1 can help to make a difference – please visit my Just Giving page.

 Thanks for taking the time to read this xx