On Sunday 22nd October, five hundred people will be taking on the 2nd annual Chelmsford 5K.
Many of those taking part are running to not only raise vital funds, but also raise awareness for The J’s Hospice. Participants like 34 year old Stacey Palmer from Braintree, whose son Jason uses the charity’s services.
Stacey decided to run the Chelmsford 5K and raise money for The J’s Hospice, because she knows first-hand how vital the support they provide to young adults with life-limiting conditions like Jason is. She also wants to raise awareness of the charity and the work they do across Essex.
“I didn’t really know about The J’s or the work they did until this year when they came to care for Jason. It is so important for services and charities like The J’s Hospice to get support from the local community because they are so vital to everyone who uses them and if by running 5K I can help increase awareness and raise money for them I’m only too happy to oblige!”
16 year old Jason is unable to verbally communicate; he has epilepsy, severe autism and sensory issues because his underlying condition has affected his brain function. He started accessing The J’s Hospice in August 2017; he has fortnightly home visits from the care team and has also joined other members of The J’s community for their September Inspire Day.
“The J’s Inspire day absolutely blew my mind! It was amazing – everyone was able to take part regardless of their disabilities or needs. It was the a rather surreal experience for me as I’ve been to days before that have been advertised as ‘autism friendly’ but Jason’s autism is so severe he has never been able to take part. We’ve always ended up sitting on the side-lines, which for a Mum is a horrible feeling because you want your children to be included and accepted for who they are. At The J’s Inspire day Jason was not only accepted, but celebrated for his quirks and individuality, it was wonderful.”
Jason’s needs can be incredibly demanding on not only his mum and dad – Stacey and Ryan, but also his younger brother Josh who is 14. The J’s coming to care for Jason on a regular basis gives all the family a break.
“It can be difficult juggling everything at times, especially with two teenage sons who need both our time and attention; but when The J’s come to see us they not only care for Jason, but also keep him entertained which means I can focus on Josh or other things that may need my attention.
“I’ve been caring for Jason on my own, with Ryan and Josh helping me when they can, for the last 16 years; so I was a little apprehensive about The J’s coming in and a little untrusting of their abilities. I knew they were trained, but it was just difficult to trust that they’d be able to care for Jason the way I had for years. However, there was no reason for me to worry – on their second visit Jason was in a particularly bad way, he was having cluster seizures which means the seizures are short bursts but repetitive so one finishes and then another one starts a few seconds later. They were so bad that I’d had to give him emergency medication and I was getting stressed, but Denise from The J’s care team reassured me. She made me feel like it wasn’t scary it was normal and that made it possible for me to step back from the situation, have a cup of tea and calm down. What I later found out was that this was Denise’s first encounter with epilepsy this severe, the level of care and professionalism that she showed was astounding.
“Since then I’ve been able to give myself a break and recharge my batteries when they come round, which means I’m able to give Jason even better care when they’ve left because I’m less stressed. Everything The J’s does for Jason means that I can be a better carer and a better parent to both our boys.”
Erika Patterson, Events Fundraiser for The J’s Hospice said
“Stacey and Jason’s story really does highlight why we need support from the local community so that we can be there for every young adult and their families who need us for as long as we’re needed; so I’d like to thank every single person who has signed up to both the Chelmsford 5K and the Chelmsford Marathon so far. I’d also like to thank our sponsors who through their generosity have helped us put on this event - EJ Taylor & Sons Limited and T.C.P. who are both Gold Sponsors and also Redrow and Kier.
“Every runner, every family member or friend who sponsors our runner and every supporter who makes a donation will be helping us to continue to help young adults with life-limiting conditions through tailored nursing and emotional care, advice and activities in their home or in the community.They are also empowering young adults to make informed choices about their treatment, helping them to live life to the full, however short. So thank you.”
To sign up for the Chelmsford Marathon or the Chelmsford 5K please click here. Online registration closes on 21st October, but you can sign up on the day at the registration station in Central Park, Chelmsford from 7.30am for both the Marathon and 5K
To sponsor Stacey please visit her JustGiving page