Clocking up more miles
If you have looked at our website recently, you will have seen the feature on Matt’s trip to Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro for the Lewis Moody charity that supports research into brain tumours. I know that when Matt is not at the clinic, he’s donning rucksack and walking boots and getting in some training for what will be quite a personal challenge.
Like Matt, I have had little time over the years to organise and lead fundraising events, although two years ago Tracey and I joined Johnnie and Tiggy Walker’s party to walk wild parts of the Great Wall of China for the Carers UK charity. Collectively, we raised over £60,000 to help support all the carers in the UK that look after friends and family, often with limited means. Thanks to all of you who contributed.
To be honest, I used to have reservations about people flying off to exotic locations to fulfil a personal ambition then asking for donations or sponsorship for a good cause. Why not just work a bit harder or longer and give the money directly? Or give up time and effort working in the community to directly help others? Well, I think I now have the answers to these questions! Firstly, raising money is only part of the equation as raising awareness and the profile of a charity is just as important. The best way to do that is to make an interesting story, one that engages people’s imagination and gets the charity noticed. Secondly, many of us contribute to several charities every month, with direct debits leaving our bank accounts to support the good causes that touch our hearts. I don’t know about you, but for me that list grows longer every year! And thirdly, charity workers, be they scientists, nurses, counsellors or carers are experts in their respective fields, trained and motivated over time and experience. I know I could not just step into their shoes and expect to do their jobs effectively.
So, I think I can justify self-funded adventures that helps our own personal growth and raises money for deserving good causes. Just as well as I have been invited on one too! Not quite as exotic as Matt’s but it will prove equally challenging. I will be walking Wainwright’s Way, coast to coast from St. Bees head in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire. A total of 192 miles with enough ascent to rival Matt’s scaling of Mt. Kilimanjaro! (Not as though there’s any competitive element here…)
And why, you might ask? I am accompanying a friend and colleague, Graham, whom I have known since we were at vet school together, 40 years’ ago. Last year, Graham was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given 12-18 months to live. Like so many victims of cancer, it all happened very suddenly and came out of the blue. This sort of catastrophic news can so easily wreck the mind as well as the body and that’s where the charity we are supporting comes in. Maggie’s Centres are based in cancer treatment facilities around the UK and give a unique blend of mental and physical help to patients with cancer, helping them to continue living a positive life even though the future is so uncertain.
Since his diagnosis, Graham has undergone chemotherapy and a novel radiotherapy treatment, amazingly taking him into remission with signs that his primary tumour has significantly regressed. Grabbing this opportunity of having more of our most precious resource, time, plans were made to highlight the work that Maggie’s is doing all over the country and hence a long walk up North was proposed. It will take us two weeks to complete and will take us through the heart of James Herriot country. Planned for the end of April and the first week of May, we are hoping for good weather and preparing for the worst!
If cancer has touched your life or that of someone close to you, have a look at Maggie’s website (maggiescentres.org) and see if this is something you can support. If so, click on the link to take you to Graham’s JustGiving page and any donation will be put to very good use.
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