For many of us, not eating chocolate and getting back to the gym is enough of a challenge in the New Year... but for Charlotte Killick-Cole her New Year challenge for 2016 was slightly more demanding than the traditional resolutions.

Like many, Charlotte was spurred on by a special birthday to give herself a challenge throughout 2016. However, rather than a special birthday ending in a 0, 2016 was significant as Charlotte was reaching the same age as her Dad when he sadly passed away, 27 years ago.

“Good health, it seems, is something we tend to take for granted or, at least, assume will always be there until we get old,” said Charlotte. Charlotte’s Dad passed away from a brain tumour under the care of St. Margaret’s Community Team.

Although young, Charlotte can remember the care her Dad received and the Community Nurse that gave her Mum so much support. She can remember feeling safe when Averil, their St. Margaret’s Community Nurse, stayed with the family, even taking the time to explain the array of medicines her Dad was taking to Charlotte, something that looked scary to a young child.

Going through this and learning to live without her Dad, thankfully healthy herself, Charlotte wanted to give something back and chose a physical challenge, purely because she can. She entered 7 strenuous running events spaced out through the year, including:

South Devon 10K Coastal Trail (including a 1,186ft ascent) completing the course in just under 1h 10m mins; Pembrokeshire Coastal 10k, advertised as undulating terrain and spectacular views; White Peak Trail Run 10k, and the Hawkshead Trail Race in Lancashire, a 17k race including a mile long, near vertical, killer climb dubbed the "Coffin Trail"!

Charlotte’s love for running comes from her Mum, who she hates to admit is still faster than she is, although Charlotte is hoping to rectify this soon! She’s trained and taken part in most of the races with her Mum, finding the competition spurs her on. Charlotte said “I don’t think Dad would be joining us if he was still with us, although he did enjoy squash and fishing, but he’d certainly be proud of what we’re achieving.”

“I’ve seen first-hand the impact of cancer, dementia, suicide, MS, organ failure, depression and disability. I also know how important raising money for research to cure these diseases is. However, as with my Dad, the outcome isn’t always what we would have wanted. That’s where St. Margaret’s steps in, supporting and caring for patients and their families. That’s why I decided to challenge myself and raise money for St. Margaret’s - it’s my way of giving something back and a great way to remember my Dad.”

Charlotte successfully completed all 7 of her runs with a smile on her face and has raised nearly £1,000 for St. Margaret’s. If Charlotte’s story inspires you to challenge yourself in 2017, our Fundraising Team are here to support you all the way. Whether you sign up to ‘Lose the Booze’ for a month in 2017 or plan your own challenge, we can help you get the most out of your experience.

By supporting St. Margaret’s you are helping to make each day count for thousands of patients and their families across Somerset.

Thank you Charlotte!