Virginie Mein, age 47 from Bath, is in training to take part in the Bath Half Marathon for Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW) as it provides care and support to her family.
Originally from France, Virginie has been living in the UK for 20 years. She has two children; Emilie aged 6 and Sebastien who’s 8. Emilie attends a mainstream school, while Sebastien attends Three Ways School in the city.
When he was just a few months old, Sebastien was diagnosed with Global Development Delay and Lennox Gastaut Syndrome. Virginie says, “To this date we do not know the reasons for his disability despite numerous genetic tests. Sebastien cannot sit unaided, walk or talk, has frequent seizures and takes medication daily.”
Virginie and her children were referred to CHSW’s Charlton Farm hospice after the death of her husband, Richard, in January 2016 from pancreatic cancer.
The family come to Charlton Farm for respite, “The time we have at Charlton Farm is truly amazing; the warmth of the staff, the amazing facilities, the tranquillity of the place. We feel welcomed; it is like an extended family.
As Sebastien is not able to fly, Virginie sometimes uses the time he is at the hospice to spend with her daughter. She said, “I have always been keen for my daughter to get to know her French relatives and have some quality time with me, so when Sebastien is at Charlton Farm I also use it as an opportunity to take my daughter on holiday. I leave Sebastien in total confidence that he will cared for and that he will have fun. It is so reassuring for me to know that he is such in good hands.”
CHSW is the Local Charity of the Year for Bath Half 2019 and Virginie will be part of a 100-strong team running for the charity. She said, “I started running after my husband died but took it a bit more seriously in 2017 and started training with RunBath in October 2017 in preparation to run the 2018 Bath Half, which was unfortunately cancelled.
Running has been a huge help in dealing with stress and anxiety since Richard passed away and a refuge, my ‘me’ time.
"We are so lucky that CHSW has embraced our family and running the Bath Half Marathon for them next March is such a little contribution compared to what they are doing for us. Sebastien is growing and no doubt the future holds many challenges and I can only thank CHSW and the team at Charlton Farm as I know they are there to share this journey with us.”
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