Sisters, Alice and Lauren, took part in the Kew Gardens 10k run in memory of their uncle Roger, who was supported by United Response. They raised a whopping £1,140! They told us about their motivations and how they got on…

It’s always a bit of a cliché to set yourself a challenge at the beginning of a new year. We thought it would be good for us both, not only to get fit but to do something worthwhile and to give back. We wanted to raise money for United Response, a charity which might not be as well known to some but goes to great lengths to help people facing mental health needs in their everyday lives.

United Response supported our Uncle Roger for over 15 years. He had Bipolar Disorder, which can be a condition that people don’t understand because it is not a ‘physical’ illness. United Response was there through thick and thin, and was a life line to both Uncle Roger and his girls Amy and Lucy. Sadly, our uncle passed away in September 2014.

We were lucky enough to meet some of the support team who worked with our uncle for many years. Not only were they kind, caring and humbling individuals but they could call our uncle their friend, which for us shows how far United Response goes as a charity.

The challenge ahead

We certainly aren’t the keenest of runners and we definitely delayed our training. But once we got going, we would go on runs after work gradually increasing our distance each week. We felt pretty confident before the race and found running a more enjoyable experience. I think having a goal at the end of it all really helped us. We really were novices, so anyone can do this easily.

We can’t quite believe how much we have managed to raise, everyone has been so supportive. We honestly thought £500 would be a push, so it was amazing to see how generous people have been.

Seeing the pictures towards the end of the race and after are quite funny, especially Lauren as she looked like she was about to give up. Then next thing she sees the end in sight and is sprinting and jumping for joy. We are very proud of ourselves not only for the money we have raised but to run the 10K itself. Half-Marathon next?

Alice and Lauren on the big day 

Providing a lifeline

Lucy and Amy, Roger’s daughters, expressed what United Response meant to them:

‘I cannot imagine what it would've been like if our paths hadn't crossed with United Response and given us that support. We'd been through many years of struggling to be heard in the mental health system, which felt complex and tangled, where people suffering become labelled.

What United Response did for Dad we are forever thankful for and in many ways United Response gave him a new lease of life. They gave Amy and me relief, support and reassurance in our deepest days of despair and sadness.’ - Lucy

‘Lifeline. That's what United Response became to my sister and me over a decade ago. Having a parent who suffers from Bipolar soon becomes a huge part of your life. Our father Roger became poorly and we spent many years trying to navigate the mental health system feeling emotionally frustrated and unsupported.

After a particularly upsetting episode, we were put in touch with the crisis management team and then in turn Dad was allocated care through United Response. This was a turning point for us, if not to find a solution for a very complex condition, to provide a friend and support for him on a regular basis.

Some weeks a pop round and a chat to get things he needed, or a weekly coffee, and in the earlier days day trips out to Beaulieu car museum or a photography course.

Dad’s support workers; Penny, Sarah and Keith, became so dear to him, and Keith remained in touch years after he moved to Wales and even attended Dad's funeral.

We are in debt to the time you have given us and the support throughout very difficult times. Thank you United Response.’ – Amy

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