Daughter’s marathon mission as Mom battles Covid


Laura-Jenny Melvin-Smith has set herself the epic challenge of running a marathon throughout March, to raise money for Critical Care at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, where her mother is currently being treated for COVID-19.

Laura’s mother, Lorraine tested positive for Covid-19 on 18 January. As Lorraine’s health deteriorated, Laura decided to call 999, and Lorraine was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) on Saturday 23 January 2021. Later that evening, when Lorraine was transferred to Critical Care, Laura received a call telling her to expect the worst as her mom was not only suffering from Covid but also Diabetic Ketoacidosis, a serious problem that can happen in people with diabetes if their body starts to run out of insulin.
Lorraine has now been on Critical Care for over 8 weeks, during which time staff also discovered that she suffered a stroke because of the infection.

It has been an exceedingly difficult year for Lorraine, Laura, and the family. Laura has also been living with her grandparents helping her grandfather care for her nan who has Alzheimer's. However, despite being incredibly unwell, Lorraine now continues to make slow progress and has even managed to raise both a smile and a frown on a video call to her daughter Laura last week.

Speaking of the care Lorraine has received, Laura said: “I cannot fault the care my Mom is receiving and how all the staff are with me and my family in such difficult circumstances. They are making and taking every opportunity to organise for me and the rest of the family to be with Mom virtually.
I told her that I am looking after her plants, as she is very green-fingered, and I am not - hence the frown. My Mom has always been expressive, so I know that her eyes to her nurse clearly meant she was saying “oh no, my plants are done for”. But she smiled when I told her I was doing my research and that I am learning something.”

Thanks to our generous supporters, UHB Charity has been able to support our patients and staff throughout the pandemic, providing over 600 tablets to help patients to stay in touch with their families.

Laura decided she wanted to give back to the amazing staff who have cared for her Mom over the past 8 weeks and decided to run a marathon over them month of March. Laura has been an avid runner in the past and has enjoyed getting out with her border collie to exercise with her furry best friend. Laura has taken part in a couple of Mud Runs and the Birmingham 10K in the past but running has now become more of a form of relaxation and meditation.

When Lorraine was first admitted to the QEHB, Laura began to struggle with her mental health. Laura said: “When Mom was first admitted, I had a resurgence of my former mental health problems. My Mom is my biggest ally and advocate and to not have her there to talk to, I had to do something positive, so I started to run. And that's how running a Marathon over the course of the month came about!”
Laura set herself a target of raising £200, but has raised over £685 across Just Giving, Facebook fundraiser and cash donations. Laura has also extended her challenge to do a total of 64 miles over the month. Laura chose 64 miles because that is her Mom’s age, “although she will not thank me for putting that out in the public domain”, Laura added.

Ellie Pocock, Fundraising Officer at UHB Charity said: “Laura’s fundraising is absolutely amazing, and we cannot thank her enough for supporting the charity during this difficult time. Laura is an inspiration to us all. Our thoughts and wishes are with Lorraine, Laura and their family every day and we are wishing Lorraine a quick recovery.”

You can donate to Laura’s JustGiving page here, or if you would like to say thank you to our wonderful NHS staff, you can dedicate a message here.


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University Hospitals Birmingham Charity is a company limited by guarantee in England (No.10004003) and a charity registered in England and Wales (No.1165716).Registered Office: 5th Floor Nuffield House, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham B15 2TH

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