When you’re out in Plymouth and surrounding areas, you can’t fail to notice runners pounding the pavements, some of whom are putting in training for the London Marathon. Among those taking on the big challenge next month is St Luke’s Dr Kate Davies, who’s based at our specialist unit at Turnchapel.
Not only is keen runner Kate dedicated to the work she loves, she’s also passionate about raising the profile of hospice care and its need for continued funding. That’s why she’s finding time in her hectic schedule to train between shifts and family life with her husband and two small children, ready to run the marathon in aid of Hospice UK.
Kate, who joined St Luke’s in 2011, said: “I was thrilled to get a place to raise funds for Hospice UK. They’re the voice of hospices at national level and work hard to ensure end of life care stays on the agenda.
“The hospice movement in the UK is still quite young, so this kind of profile raising is really important to help ensure organisations including St Luke’s get the support, development and training they need now and in the future.”
It was while working in the oncology and haematology team at Derriford Hospital that Kate, originally from Portsmouth, decided she wanted to focus on palliative care. She found it rewarding being part of a team caring for patients with different types of cancer. So, when she was offered the opportunity to join St Luke’s, she knew it was where she wanted to be, looking after people affected by the disease as well as those with other terminal conditions Since joining our charity, Kate’s passion for her work has grown even more and she especially appreciates the extra time she has to spend with patients, something in short supply on the NHS wards.
“Here, I don’t feel rushed, and when new patients arrive – often fearful coming into the unfamiliar environment of a hospice – I have the time needed to talk things through, find out more about them and help put them at ease.”
Talking to Kate, it’s obvious she regards it as a privilege to look after terminally ill people, whether it is symptom control so a patient can return home or being there to give bespoke care in their very last days of life.
She said: “The medical care we give is so important but it’s more than that.
“It’s very special being part of a team for whom nothing is too much trouble, where every day colleagues go the extra mile, such as arranging a last boat trip for a patient who misses being out on the water.
“And we all need each other. For example, it’s often a Healthcare Assistant who’s with a patient at a time when they’re feeling more relaxed, so they’ll pick up on little things that can mean a great deal to that person. They then feed that back to me, which is such a help.”
While there’s no doubt the nature of her job can take its toll emotionally, it is this camaraderie Kate credits with helping her resilience, along with the uplifting feeling of knowing she’s making an important difference.
And it’s this resilience, plus her quiet determination, that will see Kate keep going through all weathers in her marathon training, too.
She said: “I’m so excited about the day! I’m running for such a great cause and not only will friends be there to cheer me on, my husband Tom is doing the marathon with me, so it’s extra special.”
Kate won’t be the only St Luke’s face running on 28 April. Also putting his best foot forward is Head of Marketing and Communications Robert Maltby, running in aid of our charity and Hospice UK.
Good luck to both Kate and Robert. Blisters or not, we couldn’t wish for better ambassadors in the capital and we’re so grateful for your support!