A few days ago something popped up on my Facebook feed that inspired me. Cancer Research are running a new kind of Race for Life for those of us who love a good walk. It involves walking ten thousand steps a day, every day, for the whole month of March. Now, I regularly walk this kind of distance over the course of a day. Could I really commit to this? I didn’t even really wait to contemplate it – I signed up immediately.
why I’m walking
One of my New Year’s Goals was to set myself a fitness goal. Preferably one I didn’t have to spend hours at the gym for, because I prefer fresh air. I’d like to lose a little weight and feel fitter, and I think this is (excuse the pun) a step in the right direction. 10000 steps a day is 31000 steps in a month, or 140 miles, It’s a big commitment, and I know there’ll be days I don’t want to do it, but I will have to. And I can take my camera. The bigger, more overwhelming reason I wanted to do this : Cancer. This disease has affected a lot of important people in my life, from grandparents to peers, and even the children of my peers. You don’t need me to tell you how awful it is to watch a relative go through cancer, but I am going to tell you a little bit about my most profound experience with cancer.
Walking for Joan
I grew up with one set of grandparents. My memory of my Grandma is of a gentle, kind woman with open arms and a ready smile. I rarely saw her out of her chair by the fire, her leg made useless by DVT. We visited a couple of times a month, she’d brush my hair and show me I was loved. I was so surprised by everything she had to tell me when I asked her what it was like growing up during the war, and the life she had afterwards.
This is my grandma, Joan. She died when I was fifteen, after a short but brutal time with cancer. She was extremely ill, and knew of her diagnosis, and accepted it, before she shared it with us. Within a couple of short months she was in a hospice, and all of us waited for her to be relieved. She’d had it before; her hips bore tattoos, marking her up and keeping her in the right position during previous radiotherapy treatment. One Saturday morning at the end of November my mum woke me up. She was sitting on my bed. She looked cold and tired from having spent three nights sleeping in a chair in the hospice, knowing the end was near. Grandma had slipped into a coma, and died. We hugged, and for the first time in my life, I was comforting my mother.
Why walking helps
“Understanding the fundamental biology underpinning cancer is vital for finding cures sooner’
Treatments have come on an awful lot in the fifteen years since we lost my grandmother. I know many more people who have fought cancer and survived than I do those who have died of this illness. When I was signing up to Walk All Over Cancer, I had to choose a cause for where any money I raise goes. I chose for it to go to examining the causes of cancer, because I think the is the key to beating it.
I’m walking for Julie, Paul, Chris, Irene, and the spectacular woman I’ve already told you about, for Joan. You can check out my page and make a donation here.