A student nurse is in training for a half marathon with her two pet dogs in aid of the hospice that cared for her animal-loving mum in her final days.
Mother-of-two Maddie Beattie, who lives in Bontnewydd, near Caernarfon, is determined to conquer the 13-mile feat to raise money for St David’s Hospice in Llandudno which her lovingly nursed her mother Lorraine through the end stages of a heartbreaking battle with cancer of the oesophagus.
She aims to do the run on January 16, which would have been her mum’s birthday, and will follow a route along a cycle track from Bontnewydd to a finishing point just beyond Penygroes.
Maddie will be accompanied every step of the way by her training partners – her four-year-old Beddlington terrier called Bella and her two-year-old Jack Russell, Bobby.
The 37-year is combining her rigorous daily training regime with the demands of being a mum of two, completing a crucial final year dissertation for her nursing studies, and holding down her part time job as a care assistant at Pendine Park’s Bryn Seiont Newydd dementia care home in Caernarfon.
She said: “My mum died 13 year ago on January 13 and a half a marathon is just over 13 miles so it seemed an apt tribute – 13 miles for 13 years.
“I’m so grateful to have such support from family, friends and work colleagues at Bryn Seiont. Life is pretty hectic at the moment, but I’ve made it my goal to do this and I’m committed to making it to the finishing post.
“I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a long time as a thank you to the hospice which was so good with mum.“
Lorraine was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus after finding a lump in her neck. Originally clinicians gave her two years but the tumour proved more aggressive than they thought and she died, aged just 51, six months after her diagnosis.
Maddie said: “Mum and I were always close. We lived in Llanrwst. We never had any money but she always had time for everyone. She brought up my brothers, Alex and Linden, and I as a single parent but she was always there for us.
“She loved animals. We always had pet dogs and cats, she was a keen horse rider and a real Dr Doolittle in her way. I remember one time I came home and there were baby ducklings in the bath. She had fostered them because they lost their mother. Another time she reared some orphaned wild baby rabbits. That’s why I want to take my two dogs with me on the run, mum would have loved to see the three of us doing this.”
Maddie took up running as a form of release after she first started her nursing training at Bangor University.
She said: “My first nursing placement was in the cancer ward at Ysbyty Gwynedd and it was very challenging, especially as a beginner. I loved it, though, and I can still remember every patient who was in the ward while I was there, but it was full on hard work.
“We never stopped, so when I went back to lecture classes at uni I found I had lots of excess energy. I started running to burn it off and exercise the dogs at the same time.
“At first I would only do a couple of miles, but gradually I built up the distance. I still haven’t done a full half marathon yet but I’m nearly there, only two or three miles short now and I’m sure I can do it.
Maddie was among the first recruits to Bryn Seiont Newydd, the flagship 107-bed dementia care facility which was opened by Pendine Park in 2015.
She said working there inspired her to train as a nurse and she chose to do her final year dissertation on dementia care following her experience of working at Bryn Seiont Newydd, and having helped care for her Greek-born grandmother, Petrula, who suffered dementia in old age.
Bryn Seiont Newydd manager Sandra Evans said: “We’re very proud that Maddie has found her calling in the nursing profession. She is a natural carer, a lovely person and great with the patients.
“We have watched her progress so much since she first joined Bryn Seiont Newydd and she is a real inspiration to others who come to work here.
“She’s also a real ball of energy and I know she has the determination and ability to accomplish this half marathon challenge. We wish her and the dogs the best of luck and urge sponsors to get behind her and help raise as much as possible for a very worthy cause.”
To support Maddie visit her appeal page at: https://m.facebook.com/nt/screen/?params=%7B%22fundraiser_campaign_id%22%3A690279504946100%7D&path=%2Ffundraiser%2F&refsrc=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.inyourarea.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fcaernarfon-maddies-half-marathon-run-to-remember-mum%2Famp%2F&_rdr