A Salisbury doctor is lacing up her running shoes to take on the London Marathon for the Stars Appeal, which will be her 70th marathon run.
Dr Niki Meston, 53, who is a Consultant Chemical Pathologist at Salisbury District Hospital, is raising money for the Stars Appeal’s Pembroke Cancer Unit Fund. This will be the tenth time she has done the London Marathon, which was the very first one she ever did back in 1996.
She said: “It’s fantastic to be doing the London Marathon for the Stars Appeal. The money raised will make a big difference to local cancer patients and help enhance their care.”
The Stars Appeal, Salisbury District Hospital’s Charity supports the Pembroke Unit by investing in the latest diagnostic and treatment equipment as well as enhancing the unit itself with furnishings, décor, and artwork.
Donations also help fund projects supporting cancer patients including free aromatherapy, headwear for patients who lose their hair, free drinks for chemotherapy and oncology outpatients, and a 'prehabilitation' programme to help patients prepare for surgery and treatment.
Niki is also doing the marathon, which takes place on Sunday, April 23, in honour of her mum Maria who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2016.
“My role in supporting cancer patients has always been the most rewarding bit of my job. But cancer hadn’t really touched me personally until my mum was diagnosed with cancer. She died in her 60s, well before she or I were ready to let her go,” admits Niki, who has worked at the Hospital for 10 years.
“The Stars Appeal is an absolutely brilliant charity. It allows us to give patients at Salisbury a much better experience than you would get from just the ‘essential bits’ of the hospital service.
“When I reflect on my Mum’s cancer journey, I wonder whether things could have been that bit better for her if she had received some of the wonderful ‘extra bits’ that the Stars Appeal help our doctors and nurses to offer cancer patients every day.”
The opportunity to do the London Marathon for the charity came about by chance when she was walking past the office of her colleague Dr Tracey Parker, a Consultant Haematologist and one of the Stars Appeal’s Hospital Ambassadors, who was looking for a runner to take on the iconic race. And Niki jumped at the chance to do it.
Dr Parker, Consultant in Blood Cancers and Head of the Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Service, said: “The money that Niki and our supporters raise makes a huge difference to local people affected by cancer. The Stars Appeal fund physical health programmes and relaxation therapies, which help our patients through some fairly gruelling treatments.
“The Stars Appeal hospital Wi-Fi helps our cancer and leukaemia patients stay connected with their family, friends, and school. The importance of this is immeasurable.
“Even the simple gesture of a complementary hot or cold drink on the chemotherapy suite goes a long way towards making patients feel cared for. Thank you to everyone who supports the Stars Appeal and makes all of this possible. Good luck Niki.”
A week after running the London Marathon Niki is planning to do another one at the North Dorset Village Marathon and Relay on April 30. She has her sights set on completing 100 marathons.
To donate visit https://2023tcslondonmarathon.enthuse.com/pf/niki-meston