Late on Saturday afternoon, as we were packing everything up for our walk on the Sunday, I received a phone call from a lady who was quite put out that we had organised our event on Mothers’ Day.
She said this had disrupted her plans and, therefore, was not sure whether to enter or not. I do hope this lady did come along to join the other 2,400 fellow walkers and that she witnessed the emotion and the huge amount of togetherness and fun that we all had.
Yes, it was a highly-charged morning with mixed emotions displayed by everyone. For me, personally, the highlight of the walk was to have my mum there with me and other members of my family, to do what she has done for the past ten years and cut the ribbon to officially start the walk. You see, just a week before, we had to rush her to Accident and Emergency; she was a very poorly lady and we had grave concerns whether she would, indeed, be able to make it. But, with true determination and a great sense of purpose there she was with her scissors, snugly wrapped up in her wheelchair in a warm taxi, from where she started the countdown and joined in with our song: “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.
I admit to shedding a few tears because I felt so immensely proud of her and truly admired her sense of courage. OK, so we missed out on a few numbers this year but we still had an amazing turnout and I am so glad we did choose Mothers’ Day – it was a perfect day. All around me there were so many others, probably harbouring thoughts and feelings similar to mine. Once again, I was privileged to meet numerous ‘old timers’, some of them very poorly themselves, and was introduced to more new ‘first timers’ who all had their stories to tell and reasons for walking. As busy as we were, I stood back to think hard as to why people do our walk; I wanted to stop everyone to hear their story. Above all, the walk this year, our tenth, made me realise so much more that our charity is so very people-focused – it is not all about raising money; bringing people together is far more important. I also took time to reflect on just how hard our team had worked, and were working. Not only was I so proud of my mum being there, I felt so, so lucky to be surrounded by such warmth, such support, loyalty, love and friendship. My heartfelt thanks to ‘everyone’ and to quote my mum, as we sat together later that day, “I had to be there and we did it!”