Why 26 miles ?
There are times when I am struggling with this tough slog to find a cure for my Gymophobia. I am almost there and have recently found myself admitting to the fact that I do now … gulps … enjoy going to the Gym. I still resent the fact that I need to sweat it out on the treadmill, kill my arms lifting weights or waken up long dead tummy muscles in order to fit into the jeans but until the miracle cure is invented, that is the way life will be. I am lucky though, I have an amazingly supportive group of people around me who are incredibly encouraging and assure me that they can see the difference even when I can’t. But I still find myself asking why ?
I guess it does takes courage to step into the unknown or to put yourself into a situation you feel uncomfortable in but what happens when it was not you that made the choice? What happens when life throws you curve ball after curve ball to devastating effect?
Many of you will know that I, and a few other “nutters”, have decided to do The Kilt Walk from Hampden Park to Loch Lomond in April this year, a walk of 26 miles through the West of Scotland. I have to admit I agreed to do it as a physical challenge, to prove to myself in my 50th year that this old wreck of a body does have some stamina left in it. The charitable side of it was a nice sideline however during the week I received an email that changed my thinking and the sender has allowed me to share part of her story. (I have changed the names and edited the email for obvious reasons)
“Let me start this email by saying thank you to you and your fellow In It To Gin It’rs. It never ceases to amaze me that in this cynical, tough world there are still nutters out there willing to do this kind of thing for children and families they do not know. Twenty years ago we had a great life, big house, two cars and no money worries. Along came Jane, our precious little girl and the icing on our cake. She was followed by Paul and Michael, our handsome twin boys and finally, three years later a much longed for second little girl Joanne. Our little family blossomed, we were a team who ate together, played together and talked about everything. Then the first curve ball hit us when my husband lost his job, it devastated us financially, house was sold, kids out of private school and we were abandoned by many so-called friends. But we regrouped and kept going. Next curve ball, my darling Mike could not cope with not being able to provide for us and took his own life, no warning; no note he just went to his bed took some pills and slept forever. I kept thinking that surely there could be no more but how wrong I was. My twin boys took their Dad’s death very badly and started to go off the rails in a big way, this resulted in many court cases, alcohol problems and a total estrangement from me, as they put the blame entirely on my shoulders”
When I read this I found it hard to believe that one family could suffer so many tragedies, it was tough to read the rest of the email as the family’s story descends into chaos, heartache and violence so I have decided not to publish much of it on here.
“The final curve ball hit us when Joanne was sent home from school one day, she could not stop coughing so I took her to the Doctor only to be told a week later that she had cancer. When we walked out of the hospital I broke down, the years and years of downs finally caught up with me and I began to recognise that I needed help.”
“I could not believe it when I saw who the charities were that you and your donators are helping to support. Out of the five charities three of them have been invaluable with their help, patience and understanding and as a result my wee family are now all safe and back together again. Joanne gets stronger every day and the boys, after a wee break away from us, are our rocks. So THANK YOU once again Ms G or G for the blisters, the sore feet, the aching legs and the support you and your fellow team mates are providing to some wonderful wonderful charities.”
And that my friends is the reason why 26 miles!
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With huge thanks for the inspiration to Catherine, Jane, Paul, Michael and Joanne, and in memory of Mike