26 February 2024

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Chloe and Tracie’s story

Mother and daughter take on the London Marathon challenge for St Christopher's

When Chloe Newman read through all the hundreds of personal stories on social media of people running the London Marathon just a month after her grandfather Michael Liston had died at St Christopher’s in March 2023, she knew she had to act. But not alone. No, Chloe and her mother Tracie both applied for places in the 2024 marathon.

“When we got the email to say we’d been accepted it was like, wow, we’ve really got to do this now and my Nan couldn’t believe it and said by grandad would be laughing his head off,” says Chloe, 25.

Chloe knows what she’s letting herself in for, as she ran the marathon in 2018. But for mum Tracie this is a whole new experience and she’s honest in her assessment of her own readiness for task ahead.

“I might not be the fittest,” says Tracie, “but it’s a challenge I want to take. It’s a personal thing. I want to give back to St Christopher’s for some of the kindness they gave us. They were our light in the dark and if we can just contribute something to help them to carry on and care for others then that’s what I’m aiming for.”

Tracie and Chloe spent most of the last five weeks of Michael’s life at his bedside in the hospice and say their only regret was that he wasn’t admitted earlier.

“Nothing was ever too much trouble,” says Tracie, 58. “Not once did anyone ever say, can you wait a few minutes please. It was the best possible place for him and for us we knew he was being well cared for, so we had peace of mind.”

For Chloe, it was the home away from home aspect of the care that really struck her as she and Tracie set up shop work remotely from the St Christopher’s café.

“We could take grandad round the gardens, bring our dogs in to see him and managed to have a giggle sometimes too. Then a week before he died, we celebrated his 80th birthday. The nurses decorated his room with balloons, we all sang Happy Birthday, had cake and grandad had his favourite meal – proper East End pie and mash.

“From start to finish there really was nothing more anyone could do, everything was amazing, and all the staff were fantastic.”

After having running shoes fitted, training started in earnest in January for Chloe and Tracie. Tracie is used to walking her dogs and is confident that one way or another she will cross the line.

“I will be at the start line and will finish it, no matter what. I think the crowds will carry us,” she insists.

The pair will do two short runs a week and something a bit longer on Sundays and are realistic about what’s ahead.

“I mean no pain we suffer along the way will be anything compared to what Grandad went through and nothing we do for St Christopher’s can be too much,” added Chloe.

Tracie and Chloe are hoping to raise £5,000 and will give that total a boost when they host an event in March with live music and a raffle to mark Michael’s birthday, the anniversary of his death and to highlight their upcoming marathon adventure.

If you’d like to take on a challenge for St Christopher’s you can find out more on our events calendar

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