In late summer 2019 my Mum was diagnosed with aortic stenosis, a progressive heart condition that affects the aortic valve. She was going through the consultative process for elective surgery, but unfortunately had to be taken into hospital for emergency double heart valve replacement surgery shortly before Christmas 2019.

During surgery there were some complications and her heart function was significantly reduced, she was assisted with a number of mechanical life support devices, and had a number of further procedures to help her recover and get back to the normal independent life she loved so much.

Unfortunately after 7 weeks of battling against all the odds, she degenerated to the point that any chance of recovery was improbable and the decision was taken to remove her life support and allow her to pass away with dignity in early February 2020.

Throughout all of her time on the ITU ward at Harefield hospital the care and attention she received was second to none. The surgical team gave her every possible chance and never gave up on her. The 24 hour constant nursing care to look after her, ensuring not only that she was as comfortable as possible, but also the little things like washing her hair were not forgotten. On top of that, the support, care and empathy they provided me and the rest of the family made an incredibly difficult time that little bit easier.

I'd already signed up to the Edinburgh Marathon on 24th May 2020 and wouldn't normally consider being sponsored for doing a sport that I love. However, I'd decided quite early on in Mum's care that I wanted to give this amazing team something back and to show them how much we appreciated their incredible work and thought that fundraising for the hospital charity would be a fitting gesture.

I've set myself an ambitious (ridiculous) goal of finishing in under 3 hours 2 minutes 30 seconds, a time that should gain me a good for age entry at London Marathon (a race I've always wanted to run, but never managed to get a place on the ballot.) I honestly don't know if I'm capable of achieving such a fast time, my previous best being 3 hours 26 minutes, but I'm going to give it my best shot and knowing that I'm doing it for such a worthy cause may just give me the extra push and motivation that I need.

Any amount you can donate would be gratefully received, small or large, even £1 will really make a difference, with gift aid that will become £1.25 and these little donations will add up. Darren Murphy