20 Jan Doctors to raise funds taking part in Colchester 10k Run
Two palliative care doctors have started training to take part in the Colchester 10k Run to raise money for the Time Garden Appeal.
Dr Hattie Roebuck and Dr Julia Thompson, who are both consultants in palliative medicine, are appealing to colleagues and members of the public to join them on Sunday 14 May to support the appeal.
It aims to raise about £160,000 to develop a special garden for patients who are in their last weeks and days of life, and their families, at Colchester General Hospital where the two doctors are both based. The appeal has so far raised almost £26,000.
The Time Garden will include a self-contained log cabin which will be used by patients, including bed-bound patients, and their families. The cabin will have facilities for refreshments and music, and careful planting will help to provide privacy.
Dr Thompson, 41, who lives in Chappel, said: “It would be difficult to find anyone less ‘sporty’ than Hattie and I but we’re both passionate about the Time Garden project so at the beginning of this year decided to do something about it by putting ourselves forward for the Colchester 10k Run.
“The hospital’s wards are so busy and it can be quite stressful for patients, particularly those who are nearing the end of life, but a time garden would be a quiet and relaxing place where they can spend quality time with their families.
“In many cases, patients on the wards only see artificial light and the Time Garden will give them with an opportunity to go outside and to get some fresh air.”
Dr Roebuck, 43, who lives in Coggeshall, said: “The garden will add quality to what we can offer patients who are approaching the end of their lives.
“It’s the sort of facility that is already available in hospices but that should also be provided at hospitals.
“We’re encouraging colleagues and members of the public to join us in May so we can raise as much money as possible.”
Dr Thompson, who has sons Toby, four, and Samuel, nine, said that, with the exception of family walks, she hadn’t exercised much since becoming a mother.
She is currently following a 14-week training programme and has been running with her older son at 6am.
Dr Roebuck, who has been out running as early at 5.30am, has already sustained an ankle tendon injury.
The physiotherapist who treated her said her injury was caused by her lack of conditioning.
Dr Roebuck, who has daughters Emily, eight, and Isabel, six, said she only made the lacrosse second team at school although in the past six months she’s taken up yoga to help improve her suppleness and to relax.
In July last year, she and about 20 of her colleagues raised £2,500 for the Time Garden Appeal by taking part in the 10-mile Colchester Starlight Walk.
The Time Garden at Colchester General Hospital will be a place for quiet contemplation, peaceful reflection and privacy for terminally ill patients to spend time, either on their own or with loved ones.
It could also be used for weddings involving a patient who is terminally ill and for patients to be re-united and spend time with a much-loved pet.
The Time Garden, which will be created in the courtyard between the Emergency Assessment Unit (EAU) and Radiotherapy Centre, will be open all-year round.
Research shows that green space and gardens in hospitals can benefit patients’ health and wellbeing, and can even improve the health of some patients.
The idea for a garden at Colchester General Hospital for terminally ill patients and their families originated from a visit last year made by staff, including Dr Thompson, to Frimley Park Hospital, Surrey, which already has a Time Garden.
Colchester Hospitals Charity (CoHoC) has created a Time Garden Appeal to which donations can be made.
* Anyone wishing to take part in the Colchester 10k Run in support of the Time Garden Appeal can enter online via http://colchester10k.com and should make Dr Roebuck and Dr Thompson aware by contacting Teresa Steadman from the Hospital Palliative Care Team: 01206 746272 or firstname.lastname@example.org