A busy night shift spurred senior staff nurse Beth Walmsley to take on the challenge of running the 2017 London Marathon for the first time in aid of a children’s heart charity that she volunteers for.
Ms Walmsley, 29, who works at Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, is preparing to take on the 26.2 mile run through the capital in aid of the charity Chain of Hope.
“I really felt the need to give back to those who aren’t lucky enough to live somewhere with an NHS”
The charity brings life-saving heart treatments to children in developing and war-torn countries through volunteer teams of clinicians who treat children and conduct training programmes for local staff.
It also runs an emergency International Child Referral Programme, flying children for urgent treatment to partner centres across the UK, Europe and Bangalore.
Talking about volunteering for the charity, she said: “Having read about the global service they provide and the amount of children they are able to reach, I felt this was where my skills and help could be used the most.
“I see first-hand the need for children to be able to access healthcare and the difference it makes to them as they grow and flourish into toddlers, then teenagers and onto young adults, so I really felt the need to give back to those who aren’t lucky enough to live somewhere with a National Health Service,” she said.
“Running the marathon felt like something I could complete until I go on my next mission,” said Ms Walmsley.
Nightshift inspires nurse to take on marathon challenge
Explaining her decision to take part in the run, she said: “It was early in the morning following a busy nightshift on the paediatric intensive care unit that I saw the email from Chain of Hope, asking if anyone would be interested in taking on the challenge.
“On my cycle home I thought about what was going to be required, both mentally and physically, and also the discipline to train properly in order to complete it, such as missing out some social events, nights out dancing and a Sunday evening takeaway,” she said.
“I came to the conclusion that actually the discipline required was something that would benefit me throughout the rest of my life and, not only that, but I would get into great physical shape, as well as raising awareness and sponsorship for an incredible charity,” she said. “Suddenly it was a no brainer.”
Ms Walmsley will be one of 35,000 other runners heading to the start line on Sunday, 23 April 2017 and will also be part of a team of seven runners who form Team Chain of Hope.
She has already raised more than £800 but hopes to reach her fundraising target of £2,500 for the charity before the race.