AN AWARD winning nurse has battled through the pain barrier to run 26.2miles in memory of her mum who suffered from Parkinson’s for more than 20 years.
Ruth Owens, a member of Penarth and Dinas Runners, took part in the Brighton Marathon on Sunday, April 6, in a bid to raise money for charity and awareness of Parkinson’s disease.
Ruth, who was crowned Wales Nurse of the Year last November, took part in the race in tribute to her mum Christine Owens who died from Parkinson's at the age of 61.
Ruth, a ward sister at Barry Community Hospital, said that helping to care for her mum had inspired her to dedicate her life to helping others as a nurse.
“Helping look after my mum when I was growing up made me more interested in it,” she said.
“I know what it’s like to have a sick and frail relative and it makes me more aware of what others are going through.
“If you have got a personal experience of these type of things it gives you an understanding and awareness about how the small things make such a big difference to people.”
She added: “It was difficult watching her slowly deteriorate over the years as you have got no control over it, and the medication has side effects too.”
Despite a knee injury that saw her unable to run in the two weeks before the race Ruth still managed to achieve an impressive time of 3.49.41, just two minutes off her personal best, and finished as the 4th Parkinson’s fundraising runner and 131st in her age category.
“I’m just happy that I managed to do it and raise some money for charity,” she said.
“If I was just doing it for myself I wouldn’t have done it as I would have let my knee recover.
“It’s all worth it now though.”
Ruth’s marathon effort comes at the same time at Parkinson’s Awareness Week from April 7 until April 13.
She added that she hoped her fundraising efforts would make a difference and vowed to do more in the future.
“It’s a cause very close to my heart and my mum would be very proud of me,” she said.
“She would be really cross that I did it with a bad knee though.”
Last year Ruth, who has been a qualified nurse for 13 years, was recognised for her work in caring for patients suffering from Parkinson’s when she was crowned Wales Nurse of the Year.
She was presented with the award in recognition of her “compassionate and innovative work in older people’s care” and because her “care, compassion and excellence in practice make her a role model for future nurses and leaders within health care”.
Ruth, 33, said: “The patients always come first no matter what.
“I try and create a climate of openness and trust.
“I have always tried to get the best out of people by encouraging them as it doesn’t work if you are telling them off all the time.”
Ruth, who lives in Cardiff, added that it was difficult juggling training with work but that it helped dealing with the stress and allowed her some “me time”.
You can still sponsor Ruth at http://www.justgiving.com/Ruth-owens4