I have done the London Marathon for the past two years, and the number of St John's volunteers available throughout the course is phenomenal. On my way to the start line in 2018, I was very nervous and remember sharing a DLR carriage with some St John's volunteers. When we got to the station, they all wished me luck and one of shouted "we hope we don't see you!!". That stuck with me throughout the day, how these strangers were not only taking the time to be there to help us runners medically, but also through random acts of kindness like simply cheering us on.
'I want to give back to the charity that has played a big part in both my London Marathon experiences'
Working for the NHS I know the incredible work our paramedics do, and this extends to St John's volunteers. The fact these guys are volunteers and don't get paid for their work makes them even more special.This year at about Mile 16 I picked up an injury and didn't think I could finish. I stopped for some medical attention (inflamed IT Band), and the physio and volunteers from St John's who looked after me were lovely, and gave me comfort in saying if I needed help further along the route I would be able to find someone.
In 2019 my boyfriend Matt decided to run the marathon in memory of his dad. Sadly, he didn’t manage to finish the race and found himself in a very bad way after collapsing at mile 23.
'The emergency care that Matt received from the St John ambulance volunteers was amazing'
I know it sounds dramatic but I honesty felt like St John saved his life. He is back to try again this year, so I thought what better way to make sure he passes the finish line than to run with him, and for a great cause that is very close to us both.
It has been tiring to say the least juggling work, training and a house move but I am feeling confident that we will cross the finish line together.
A few years ago, I trained as a first aider with St John for my job. I’d been to a wedding in Hitchen and went to the pub afterwards. As I was walked up the stairs, I noticed a man lying down, passed out. At first I assumed he was drunk, but my first aid instincts kicked in and I asked if he was OK. He was completely unresponsive and wasn’t breathing. I shouted for my friend, and we called an ambulance.
I started CPR. It was clear he’d had quite a significant cardiac trauma. Luckily the first responder arrived quickly and I assisted him in putting a tube down the man’s throat. The first responder used the defibrillator and the man started breathing again.
'It was such a powerful moment for me, seeing my first aid training actually working in practice'
I’m also following in his grandad’s footsteps by running the London Marathon and raising money for St John along the way. St John meant a lot to my grandfather. He sadly passed away from cancer in 2019, but while he was receiving treatment it was St John people who transported him from his home to the hospital. It was the same two nurses each time which was such a comfort to my grandfather, he loved chatting to them and looked forward to every journey.
My experience with St John, as well as my grandfather’s, meant I was keen to support St John at the London Marathon. The incident in the pub showed me how first aid saves lives and I knew I’d made the right choice to raise money for St John.
If you’d like to support St John Ambulance by running the London Marathon in 2023, you can find out more here: www.sja.org.uk/run-the-tcs-london-marathon