Just keep walking

Since waving a cheery farewell to my exam, I have been basking in freedom and laziness and hot weather. As it’s not every summer that I get off lightly for nearly missing an exam while the day I pack my bags creeps ever nearer, making the most of it probably isn’t a bad idea. While counting down the days, I have been happily ticking off my summer to-do list. Do first aid course: would be easier if DMU hadn’t gone and arranged one for when I’m on holiday in London. Spend less time on computer but more time on blog: hmmm, about that… Say “yes” to more opportunities…?

Saying “yes” to opportunities isn’t one of my greatest assets. Saying things like “maybe”, “what does it involve?” and “but I won’t know anyone!” is more my style. So when an opportunity came about to join a group of students on a 17 mile sponsored walk around Rutland Water, I just said yes without consulting myself first. I don’t know what I would have said if I had.

The walk, I must explain, was to raise money for Zoe Blacklock’s CLIC Sargent Fund. CLIC Sargent is a children’s cancer charity. Zoe is the three year old granddaughter of the founders of the Leicester Navigators, the Christian bible study group I have been going to for a whole year now. She has been battling a very rare and severe brain tumour called a pineoblastoma, and so it was that Rachel, member of the much respected Navigators leadership team, wanted to help.

Agreeing to join this walk and just generally raising awareness saw me writing an article about the walk and Zoe’s situation, in the hope that it would make it into the Leicester Mercury. While it didn’t make it that far, it did at least get onto the DMU website: http://www.dmu.ac.uk/about-dmu/news/2014/june/fund-raising-students-step-out-for-charity.aspx.

The most interesting part was quoting myself. I could either type what I wanted to say straight onto the article, or I could see this as cheating and choose the autistic alternative: just slip it into ordinary conversation and memorise my exact words on my way back to my computer.

And off we went, on Sunday 22nd June, backpacks and collecting tin in hand. Myself, Rachel, Martin and Rebecca (left to right in the photo). Long distance walking seems to come in four stages, as follows:

First stage: Holiday mode. It’s a beautiful hot day, the sun is shining, the water looks like the sort you see on postcards. I’m with friends, this will be – MIND THAT CYCLIST! – a walk in the park. Or around a reservoir.

Second stage: Food…water…ice cream. My legs ache, my head aches, half the passers-by we meet say they don’t have money to donate, that café had better not be a mirage and here come more cyclists…

Third stage: Still surviving. Insert any Destiny’s Child/Gloria Gaynor survival themed song lyrics you want. Food, water and ice cream needs have been sufficiently met and am beginning not to – CYCLIST! – notice my aching legs.

Fourth stage: Nearly there. Just another thirty minutes…as has been the case for the last half hour…no, really, only another mile. Or two.

But hey, the walk was a test of strength, a great bonding experience, and, most importantly, a real success. Yes, our muscles and limbs suffered as a result. Yes, Rebecca and I did have a nerdy discussion about how our renal and circulatory systems were dealing with the strain we were putting on them. And yes, we did raise: a WHOPPING £400! If I were to write a follow up article on how it all went, we did come up with what I like to think were inspirational, thought provoking quotes, such as “my toes feel swollen,” and “is that an ice cream stall over there?” Pretty much a summary of the entire day. Yeah.

As far as I know, online donations are still welcome, so please go to: https://www.justgiving.com/NavsRutlandWalk/
To hear more about Zoe’s story, please go to: zozojourney.wordpress.com