Alfie Dunsdon is still only 28 and he has already completed two London Marathon and raised over £33,000 to help patients and families who need Saint Francis Hospice. Here Alfie shares why he is so determined to do everything he can to support the charity that cared for his dad Alf.
Saint Francis Hospice is such an amazing charity, and it holds such a special place in my heart.
Whenever I talk about the hospice, fundraise or volunteer, I feel it is like therapy as it makes me feel close to my dad and it gives me an opportunity to pay the hospice back for the outstanding care each and every person provided for my dad, and the support they gave me, my mum and the rest of the family.
My Dad had bowel cancer which had spread, and he was cared for on the ward in the last few weeks of his life in 2009. Dad never wanted to leave the Hospice once he arrived. He felt safe there and had every home comfort you could wish for. It was the best place he could be. The nurses’ love and care made a tough time so much easier to deal with.
Before he passed away, my mum and dad got married at Langtons House in Hornchurch. I was only 15 at the time but I remember how the staff and volunteers laid on a wedding reception in the Orange Cafe when they arrived back on the ward so our family could come together to celebrate.
Our family organised a fundraising event for the hospice shortly after my dad died and in 2017 and I ran the London Marathon for the first time.
During lockdown I managed to convince 12 friends to take part in a sponsored head shave.
I always had it in my mind that I would run another London Marathon for the hospice and after volunteering with the charity’s cheer squad at Mile 17 in 2022, I got the bug again and applied for a place to run in the London Marathon 2023. You can’t beat it as an event – nothing comes close.
I enjoyed it more this time because I wasn’t focusing on getting a good time and could just take everything in as I was going around and think about my reason why. Thinking of all the fundraising really got me through the pain, especially when I cramped up from mile 15 onwards.
I couldn’t believe how much money was raised and how it would really help people who needed the hospice like my dad and family did.