Jo's marathon effort to raise cash for St Helens care home

A serial marathon runner from St Helens hopes it's 13th time lucky as she plans to raise hundreds of pounds for the residential home where her mother is living with dementia.

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 7:47 am
Updated Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 7:48 am
Jo Jackson

Jo Jackson, 49, will run the Manchester Marathon to fund-raise for Sherdley Court, which is operated by adult health and social care charity Making Space.

Jo's 87-year-old mother, Margaret, has lived at the small Rainhill village home since last December.

Jo, who has been running for 21 years, since she gave up smoking, says whenever she visits her mum, she always tells her to 'keep on running' and that this race - her 13th full marathon - will be run in honour of her mum.

A former member of St Helens Striders running club, Jo's personal best is three hours, 58 minutes and 41 seconds.

Jo, who manages a day service for adults with learning disabilities, and has also run 40 half-marathons, said: "Sherdley Court has been an amazing move for my mum. It is never easy when you realise you are no longer able to care for a loved one yourself at home, as happened to my dad, my sister and I.

"My mum has been living with vascular dementia for eight years and for the last four years has needed increasingly high levels of support.

"My dad was run-ragged and I was stressed to the max and exhausted. After breaking her arm, her leg and then her other arm, we knew we could no longer keep her safe at home and the time had come.

"She went into Sherdley the week before Christmas and because of the restrictions at the time, we couldn't even visit her. It was really hard, but we knew she was in good hands, stimulated, safe and thriving."

Jo, co-founder of St Helens Trail n Ale running and walking hub, says the individual care and strong focus on activities at the home has seen her mum in a mentally better place than she has been for years.

She said: "When she was younger, my mum was a very busy person. She was head cleaner at Pilkington's head office for many years and a keen card maker, flower arranger, gardener, DIY enthusiast and painter and decorator.

"At Sherdley Court she has been supported to continue with many of these interests and I am happy that staff have really tuned in to who she is.

"She loves music and singing and often when I visit, I catch support workers singing with her as they walk down the corridors. Staff dress up and put on singing and dancing shows - they are the entertainment as well as the care and support."

Jo says staff at the home are doing everything they can to help Margaret maintain as much independence as possible, encouraging her to do up her own buttons, wash her hair and feed herself.

"I want to give something back to say thank you for the amazing support my mum is receiving," she said.

"The money I raise will be put towards activities at Sherdley including day trips, parties and craft equipment - anything that will make life more enjoyable for the residents."

Sallyann Orme, acting manager, Sherdley Court, said: "Jo is amazing and we are so grateful to her for running the Manchester Marathon in our name. We wish her lots of luck."

St Helens Trail n Ale meets at the Boathouse at Carr Mill Dam at 6.30pm every Thursday and both runners and walkers are welcome. You can find them on Facebook.

The Manchester Marathon is on Sunday, October 10 and Jo hopes to raise £300 for Sherdley Court. You can donate to her fund-raiser here