Local Hospice Nurse to take on London Marathon 2022

A local children’s hospice nurse will be lacing up her running shoes to take on the iconic London Marathon in support of the charity where she works.

On Sunday 2nd  October, Melissa Howell, Senior Nurse at Little Havens, will be joining 110 other ‘Team Havens’ runners in London to run 26.2 miles across the City.

Melissa, 43, was inspired to set herself a personal challenge after joining a running club in 2019, hoping to run the marathon in April 2020. But after the Covid-19 pandemic forced the race to be cancelled that year and after suffering an injury she is now excited to get to the start line later this year.

She said: “I never thought I would run the marathon; I’ve watched my brother Tom complete the London Marathon many times, so I know just how hard it is. I’m excited to finally get to the start line in 2022. This is a huge bucket list moment for me.”

Melissa’s nursing role in the community involves supporting children and young people in their own homes across Essex. The Little Havens Hospice at Home team support families with much-needed respite within their homes. By having nurses like Melissa in their homes, parents and carers are able to catch up on sleep or spend time with their other children, for example.  Melissa and her colleagues also provide support for children at the end of their life, supporting a child to die in the comfort and familiarity of their own home if that’s the family’s wish.

She said, “Havens Hospices is a charity very close to my heart – I get to see first-hand the difference Little Havens makes to the lives of families across Essex and how important fundraising is for the charity.

She continues, “I’m extremely passionate about paediatric palliative care and believe life is for living and every day counts, which is part of our motto at Havens Hospices. I’m proud to be part of a team that is ‘Making every day count’ for families across Essex. If running the London Marathon means more families in the future can receive specialist palliative care from Little Havens when they need it most, every mile I run will be worthwhile. I can’t wait to run my first, and probably last, marathon for Little Havens and help make a difference for our families.”

Melissa has her eyes set on the start line in October, and as training becomes more intense, she is inspired by the children she cares for to carry on running.

“The children and families I nurse are an inspiration and extremely brave with the challenges they face daily. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone physically and mentally to raise as much money as possible so we can continue to care and support, however long or short their journey is with us. I am lucky enough to be able to take part in this event for Little Havens, so I’m running on behalf of all of our families. When the marathon becomes difficult and I feel like stopping, I’ll keep running because I know every pound I’ve raised in sponsorship will make such a difference.”

Little Havens, the children’s hospice for Essex, is a part of the charity Havens Hospices, which also includes Fair Havens in Southend. The specialist care provided by the charity is completely free of charge and relies on the generosity of individuals taking part in fundraisers like the London Marathon.

There are Havens Hospices charity places still remaining for the London Marathon in April 2023. To find out more please email jgrocott@havenshospices.org.uk

To sponsor Melissa and to help her reach her fundraising target of £2,000, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/melissa-howell4


Published 26th July 2022

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Melissa holding her medal after the Southend Half Marathon