Chief Nursing Officer to take on London Marathon for Ronald McDonald House Charities UK
September 26, 2022
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Chief Nursing Officer is preparing to run the TCS London Marathon 2022 for charity, inspired by families with children who are being treated at the John Radcliffe Hospital.
Chief Nursing Officer Sam Foster, from Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, is raising funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities UK. It’s after spending time at Ronald McDonald House in Oxford and meeting the “amazing team” who accommodate and support the families of young patients admitted to Oxford Children’s Hospital.
Mum-of-three Sam, 49, said: “This will be my first ever marathon, so naturally I’m nervous but also excited. I’m not a big runner usually; I might do 5k on a weekend or plod around the block, so this is a huge feat for me to take on. I’m grateful for all the support I’ve received and tips I’ve picked up on London Marathon Facebook pages. My husband Mark, a Colonel in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), is an ultra-marathon runner, so he’s been a good source of advice too.”
Sam, who is mum to Max, 19, Ruby, 14, and Henry, eight, has been training for the marathon with her friend. She says her job at the hospital has enabled her to see the valuable work carried out by Ronald McDonald House Charities UK.
She explained: “I see the incredible difference that the Oxford House makes for the families of our most vulnerable babies, children, and young people. It enables them to feel cared for and to focus on their sick child, at what is a very difficult time.”
Following several years of planning, fundraising, and building, Ronald McDonald House Oxford, situated just moments away from the John Radcliffe (JR) Hospital, opened in May 2020. The 62-bedroom House has everything a family could need to continue some semblance of normal life including kitchens, laundry facilities, day rooms and a garden.
Sam added: “My background is in intensive care nursing, so I understand just how important it is to look after parents when their child has experienced a sudden, unplanned, catastrophic medical emergency. If mums and dads are afforded the right care, they are better equipped to face a long day on the ward, alongside their seriously ill child.
“I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Ronald McDonald House Oxford several times and I’m always struck by the thoughtfulness that goes into it. The staff there go out of their way to provide a warm and comfortable place to stay, as well as being sympathetic and supportive to the families they look after. It’s a really impressive facility.”
The TCS London Marathon is the UK’s biggest and most iconic marathon. The world-famous route takes runners past many of London’s most memorable landmarks including Tower Bridge, the London Eye, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. With around 50,000 runners and thousands more spectators lining the streets to cheer, the atmosphere at the London Marathon is like no other.
Sam said: “Juggling a busy full-time job with motherhood and training has been tough, but I’m feeling ready and am looking forward to the event. I’m trying to get into the right head space, as I’m aware that half the battle is psychological, and visiting the House has been part of that, so I remember my ‘why’ on the day.
“My fundraising is going well; I’ve now topped £3,000 but hope to push to £5,000, which is the amount it costs to sponsor a room at the House for a whole year. I’ve got my charity running top ready and will be supported by my husband and kids at various points along the route. I’m sure it’ll be a day I’ll never forget.”
Ronald McDonald House Charities UK is an independent Charity, which operates 13 Houses across England, Wales, and Scotland, providing free ‘home away from home’ accommodation. The Houses keep families together, close to their children in hospital. They provide a place to sleep, cook and retain some sense of normal life; a lifeline for families at a very stressful time, especially when they are far from home. A Ronald McDonald House saves each family an average of £1,240 in out-of-pocket accommodation expenses.
Lily Smith, Senior Events Fundraiser at Ronald McDonald House Charities UK, said: “We are so impressed by Sam’s determination to fundraise for our Charity by taking on this epic challenge and wish her the very best of luck.
“The money Sam’s raised will help provide families with a ‘home away from home’ close to their sick child, ensuring they have more time and energy to focus on them and enabling them to maintain a degree of normal family life. We look forward to cheering Sam across the finish line on Sunday 2 October and thank her sincerely for her efforts.”