Mel Mahon

Mel Mahon

Patient Mel Mahon, 39, shares how we’re helping her cope with incurable cancer and how her two young sons are getting involved in fundraising for our charity.

Brothers Jack and Jamie are taking part in the Stafford Half Marathon fun run with their school friend Ted to give something back.

Jack 12, Jamie and best friend Ted Simms, both eight, will be running at the event on Sunday, 17 March to raise money for the hospice as a way of saying thank you to Katharine House Hospice for caring for their mum.

Their grandad Steve Savage will also be running the Stafford Half Marathon on the same day, while Ted’s dad Andy Simms will be running along with the boys.

Two sons and their parents smile stood next to a dinosaur statue

Mel’s diagnosis and care

Mel from Burleyfields, Stafford, was referred to us in December 2022 when she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer which had spread to her spine and liver.

She was referred straight away and has received care for the past year. As well as having help herself, her whole family are supported by them.

Mel explains: “I am 39 with two young boys and the diagnosis turned our whole lives upside down and came out the blue – I honestly believe if I hadn’t had the support of the hospice over the last 14 months I would have struggled to deal with the diagnosis a lot more and struggled to have gone back to work as well.

As Head of Primary Care Commissioning for the NHS Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Integrated Care Board, Mel says, “I know how busy and difficult it can be getting hold of the GP and Nurse Mel and Dr Susan do everything they can to keep me at home and well.

“From the start when I was referred to the hospice for pain relief support, Dr Susan came out to visit me at home and explain how the hospice could help.

“The hospice supported me with pain management through the Therapy & Wellbeing team, Nurse Mel Mottram and Dr Susan. Nurse Mel also referred me for counselling, with the Family Support Team, and complementary therapies with Rachel Lambert.

“The family support team were able to give me a space to be really open and vulnerable. Having that safe space was invaluable.

“I feel like I have a real safety blanket wrapped around me”

“And I attended their six-week wellbeing course which I really enjoyed and met some amazing ladies. I’ve got access to the 24/7 helpline too.

“Having the hospice at the end of the phone is so reassuring. I’ve rang them on a couple of occasions when I’ve been unwell and they’ve gone above and beyond to help and support me.

“It’s always straight away and I feel like I have a real safety blanket wrapped around me with the team.

“In the early stages, there were a couple of times where my back pain was getting worse, so I phoned Nurse Mel and on both occasions she answered straight away and referred me onto Dr Susan. The first time I rang, Dr Susan got me straight back into the Cancer Unit at Royal Stoke University Hospital for a second round of radiology on my back.

“The second time Dr Susan phoned up the unit for advice on my behalf and shortly after an ambulance was at the house to take me in for scans, however just as we were leaving Dr Susan turned up at the house with a letter for the ambulance crew to hand to A&E that listed who she had spoken to and where I needed to be! This sped up my visit and got me straight in for another scan. I would never have expected that level of care and support and was really grateful for it.

“They have helped more than they will ever know and more than I can put into words.

“I just feel they both go above and beyond to help and I think its gold standard care.

“I really value the support I get from the hospice so wanted to make sure we gave something back.”


Her two boys and their friend, who attend Blessed William Howard High School and St Leonard’s Primary School, have already raised almost three times their initial target of £250.

Ted, who along with his dad Andy first had the idea to do the run, said: “I’m so excited to get money to help my best friend’s mummy get the medicines and help from Katharine House and hopefully help other mums and dads too.”

Mel said: “The boys wanted to raise some money to say thank you and give something back to the amazing team who work at the hospice.

“They are really excited about doing the run, it’s something a bit different and they love checking on the fundraising site to see how much they have raised!

“Ted’s dad, Andy, is going to run with the boys and they are currently deciding what to dress up as! My dad Steve is also going to be running the Stafford Half Marathon on the same day.”

Jamie said: “I am looking forward to doing the run, and I feel good that I have helped raise money for Katharine House, who I know help people like my mum.”

Jack said: “I’m excited to be running for Katharine House, I am going to try and do the lap twice given how much money we have raised.”

Steve added: “I’m pleased to be playing my part and helping to raise money and awareness. I love running and am looking forward to the challenge.”

Three young boys stand smiling together on a football pitch

“This epic effort will help us continue to care for our community”

Katharine House Hospice’s director of care, David Fletcher, said: “We cannot thank Jamie, Jack, Ted, Steve, Andy and Mel enough for taking part in the Stafford Half Marathon and Fun Run and raising funds and awareness of our work.

“This epic effort will help us continue to care for our community and enable all our support to be free for those who need it.

“Our quality, compassionate care and expert palliative support is available to families living with incurable illness in Stafford and surrounding areas 24/7 seven days a week via our advice line on 0300 5612900.”

To donate visit their JustGiving page.


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