An Oxfordshire broadcaster is to run the London Marathon to support the charity which cared for her mother at the end of her life.

Sophie van Brugen, who lives near Henley, will line up to run for Sue Ryder, which has a palliative care hub near Wallingford, where staff looked after her mum Sue.

The marathon takes place on Sunday.

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Ms van Brugen said: “I have always been exceptionally close to both my parents.

“At the time mum was diagnosed with stage four metastatic breast cancer in December 2019 we were looking after my dad who had had a stroke in the summer.

Oxford Mail: Photo: Sophie van Brugen/Sue Ryder Photo: Sophie van Brugen/Sue Ryder (Image: Photo: Sophie van Brugen/Sue Ryder)

“It was a huge shock for us all. Mum was very young for her age and had always been fit and healthy. She had so much life left in her which is why it was just so tragic really.”

Ms van Brugen added that her father passed away at the end of January.

She added: “My poor mum had to go in for emergency surgery the day after he died.

“She was allowed out of hospital on day release for my dad’s funeral which was very emotional and the day after she moved in to live with me and my husband and our two young sons.”

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Sue’s stay coincided with the start of the Covid 19 national lockdown and Sophie took the decision to keep her mum at home so they could spend precious time together.

However, by August, Sue’s condition had worsened and she was experiencing increasing pain, with the cancer having spread to her liver and spine.

“That’s when Sue Ryder stepped in,” added Ms van Brugen.

“The Sue Ryder palliative oncologist was just wonderful. She talked me through everything and someone from Sue Ryder Palliative Care Hub South Oxfordshire came and spoke to me too. They both gave me their time and their experience. They were just incredible – so reassuring. They sat me down and talked me through everything so I knew every possible outcome which really helped me and made the decision-making process so much easier,” Sophie said.

Sue’s condition began to deteriorate on September 4 and the nurses from the Sue Ryder Hospice at Home team came every day to look after her as Sophie kept a bedside vigil.

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Sophie said, “I could not have done it without them. There is just something about the Sue Ryder team and their training that just makes them incredibly special. Nothing was too much trouble for them.

“Having mum living with us made sense and it was such a peaceful and calm way to say goodbye.”

To say thank you and raise much-needed funds for the Sue Ryder team Sophie signed up for her first-ever marathon, which takes place just after the two-year anniversary of her mother’s death.

To donate to Sophie’s fundraising page, visit:

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This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.

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