Kieran’s run for mum.

Kieran Kavanagh ran the Virtual London Marathon for Saint Francis Hospice last year and on Sunday 3 October he will joining thousands of runners as they make their way through the streets of London. 

Kieran, 39, has been supporting our Hospice since we cared for his mum. 

Jean Kavanagh was only 43 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer — the first of several cancer diagnoses. 

“For the next thirty-five years, Mum had cancer on and off,” recalled Kieran. “Cancer is something I always remember being in our lives since I was five years old.”

After surgery, breast cancer returned, followed by a tumour in Jean’s bowel. When cancer reached other parts of her body, Jean received a terminal diagnosis — after over three decades of countless operations and rounds of treatment.

The Kavanagh family were suddenly plunged into caring for her at home. Kieran remembers having to carry his mum around the house — and help her to eat and get dressed.

“Mum always had hope, and her sense of humour got her through all those years,” Kieran explained.

Jean, who lived in Romford, came to stay with us in 2018.

“We practically lived at the Hospice for 14 days,” Kieran recollected. “The nurses did everything they could for her — and us.”

“The Kavanagh’s like to go in mob-handed!” joked Kieran’s wife, Laura. “Sometimes, there were 20 relatives around Jean’s bedside, but the nurses never made us feel that we were in the way or had to leave her.”

Jean passed away peacefully at our Hospice, surrounded by her loved ones. She was 76.

Our nurses took Jean’s husband, Terry, out to our gardens to pick some flowers to place on her pillow. 

Laura, a nurse for 20 years, revealed that she’s never seen care quite like it.

“That’s how nursing should be done,” she said.

Kieran getting ready to run the London marathon.
Kieran with his mum Jean.

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