Running a marathon is no walk in the park but two of our supporters picked up the gauntlet to put one foot in front of the other and get round the 26 mile route!
Rosie Moss completed the Manchester Marathon and Emma Tucker was one of the thousands taking part in the London Marathon- both in April.
Both from Faversham, they have very different reasons for supporting Holding On Letting Go – here are their stories.
Rosie Moss, 38 had been married to Ben for 10 years and together with three children – Monty, 7, Hector, 5 and baby Tabitha who was six months old when their lives changed forever.
On March 12, 2018, the day after Mother’s Day, he went scuba diving but never came home.
After he died, Rosie was grieving, trying to care of their children and keeping Ben’s flooring company afloat when HOLG arrived in their lives – who she says “rescued” them at their lowest time.
She said: “I heard four words which I had been longing to hear, having found out that getting help for child bereavement is very hard to get. They were ‘we will help you’; and they did.
“They wrapped their arms around me and did just that – they helped me and they helped by two eldest children, because Tabby was too young to really know what had happened. Debbie (McSwiney) is wonderful with kids.”
After we’d been to meet Rosie, we were able to arrange counselling, advice and support, plus Monty came on one of our specialist bereavement weekends too.
Rosie said: “I thought the weekends were residential at first but when I found out that it’s just two days that you go back for on a Saturday and a Sunday, it was something we wanted to do.
“Hectar has autism so wasn’t ready for it this time, but Monty is a different child. He’s lost the anger and feels less alone, because he now knows others whose dad has died.
“He created a memory at the bereavement weekend including a beautiful Christmas decoration.
“I also gained so much from the weekend too, meeting other parents, talking and making my own creative things to express my emotions.”
In December, we were also able to gift them panto tickets, Christmas presents and invited them to our Christmas party too.
Rosie decided to run the Manchester Marathon – where Ben was born, to raise money for us and give herself a personal challenge too.
Our CEO Caroline Ford, said: “Rosie did us proud, running the course in just over six hours and smashing through her £10,000 fundraising target to raise £13,000 for us.
“This will fund four more bereavement weekends – benefitting around 100 bereaved children like her own.
“It’s an amazing thing to have achieved within 13 months since Ben died and her fundraising will go such a long way, helping more bereaved children.”
Since Ben’s death, Rosie’s been to the High Court to gain a certificate of death; his body was not recovered so he was classed as a missing person, meaning any financial plans they had in place could not be of benefit to her and the children.
She has now been able to resolve them with the High Court decision and is continuing to be supported by us with the children as they grow.
Emma – a child who needed us 40 years ago
The London Marathon is Emma’s first and she’s taken it on to raise money for us – because she wishes they’d been around to help her 40 years ago.
On the 7th of February 1979, Emma Tucker’s world fell apart. The excited six-year-old had run to the front door thinking daddy had come home – but it wasn’t him. It was a police officer, there to tell her mother that daddy had been killed in a car accident.
Tom was just 33 and has been driving to see his parents in Surrey. He’d only got as far as Gillingham from their home near Faversham, when a lorry hit him from behind, killing him instantly.
Their mother was left with three children – Emma who was six, Simon who was five and four-month-old Amy.
Now 46, she said: “Back in those days, there wasn’t the understanding of grief that we have now and so we didn’t get the kind of support that HOLG gives.
“I’m now an adult with a huge amount of unresolved grief and it’s affected me all of my life.
“I’ve raised the money so they can help children just like me, to make them better equipped throughout their lives to cope with the grief in a way that I never was able to.”
Not only has Emma raised money, but she’s also raising awareness of HOLG, telling colleagues and other health professionals and families who need to know, all about us and the support we offer bereaved children.
She’s a Health Visitor and has a good network in which to let people know about what we do.
During her training, Emma had the chance to meet up with Rosie and they found some parallels between them. Rosie’s husband Ben died, leaving her with three children – almost identical in age to Emma and her siblings when her dad died back in 1979.
They went for a run together in preparation for their marathons.
Emma said: “I was in the same shoes as Rosie’s children – but the difference is, they are getting the support they need from HOLG and will have those coping skills to take them through life; which I never got…that kind of help just wasn’t available back then.”
She added: “For a long time, I didn’t know that the bereavement was affecting me and by doing the marathon, it’s not only been good for my mental health in terms of exercise and getting outside, but I’m opening up more and finding it easier to talk about my dad. I’m able to let people know about the charity too, so that more people know who they are and can mention them if the need ever arises.
“It’s so wonderful what they do and supporting them means a lot to me.”
Emma finished in just under six hours and raised £1,900 for us.
CEO Caroline Ford, said: “Emma did so well – she had an ankle injury early on in her training but kept on going and did a fantastic job. £1,900 is an amazing amount and will enable us to help children through their bereavement – just as she wishes.”