A WOMAN who lost her father to cancer is preparing to take part in her first race to raise money for the hospice that cared for him.

Louise Bolton, 39, from Worthing, will run the Worthing 10k in memory of her father, Alan Palmer, who died on March 3.

Louise, an assistant underwriter at Aviva in Worthing, said: “This is my first race event and it means the world to me that I am running it in my dad’s name.

“The date of the run is special to me as it’s so close to what would have been Dad’s 69th birthday – it’s my gift to him and I know he will be there with me all the way round the course.”

She joined Worthing-based Foxy Ladies Running Club to train for the Worthing 10k, which is on Sunday, June 2.

It is one of the South East’s biggest running events and is expected to attract 2,500 runners.

Louise, mother to 11-year-old Ethan, said: “Joining the club was the best thing I have done for myself in a long time.

“When I started training, I wasn’t able to run for a minute without stopping. I can lack confidence in myself and my ability, and I can’t put into words how supportive and caring these ladies have been. After six weeks, I was able to run 5k.”

Mr Palmer, who lived in Worthing, began to feel unwell on February 25 and was taken to hospital, where he was diagnosed with liver cancer the same day. A day later, the family was told he had lung cancer, which had spread to his liver, and he was given a couple of weeks to live.

He was able to go home with support from the Hospice At Home team from the charity St Barnabas House, which provides specialist palliative care at its hospice in Titnore Lane in Worthing and in patients’ homes.

Louise said: “From the moment the St Barnabas nurses walked in, they brought a sense of calm and reassurance.

“They weren’t just there for Dad, they were so compassionate to us too, and we won’t ever forget that.

“When they knew the time was near, we were offered one of the Hospice At Home night sitters to stay with us. Her name was Eleanor.

“Dad passed away peacefully just seven days after his diagnosis. That night, Eleanor did so much for us. She left us to have time with him and each other, made us coffees and helped make calls, all the things you don’t want to think about, but which meant so much.

“It was such a shocking week for all of us, but their amazing team made it so much easier. Even now, St Barnabas continue to look after us.”

Louise has already raised £940, which exceeds her fundraising target.

She said: “If I can help St Barnabas to give the same care to another family, this would mean so much.”

To support Louise go to her JustGiving page: justgiving.com/Louise-Bolton14?utm_id=26.

St Barnabas House has a limited number of free charity places available for the Worthing 10K, with a minimum sponsorship of £100. Phone 01903 706355 or email events@stbh.org.uk.