I think it was either my fourth or fifth Christmas and I'd asked for a nurse's outfit, I'd waited all year. It came with a blue dress, apron, lace hat and a pin on watch - I think there was a plastic syringe, a bandage and a stethoscope. I was excited and must have pulled every first aid book off the shelves, fixing teddies and dolls. I remember sitting with my grandmother and she allowed me to bandage her arms and legs. My grandfather, then taught me how to do it, properly!
He was working in the mines and saw many accidents including his own after he got hit by a loose coal truck. This happened in the 60s and he broke his pelvis. He was told he'd never walk again. Determined, he started to get out of his wheelchair as he wanted to stand for his daughter's wedding, and continued his physio therapy by just walking and walking. He could walk for miles.
Sometimes it's a walk that 'fixes' us. The time to prepare mentally, and if you're doing it with friends, even better because you share your vulnerabilities and strengths. In my darkest times, I sometimes forgot that my friends were there. Some of them walking a very similar path. When I wanted help, I felt alone. When I needed help - it was there - I only had to ask.
When I got an email from a customer, Gary Knox, from Scotland, asking if I could sponsor him and his team mates, Ross Pattenden and Kevin Kinnear. I put my own problems aside for a while and just carried on reading...
"On the 8th-9th June 2019, I am taking part in The Cateran Yomp. Which is a 54-mile hike in 24 hours across rural Perthshire, Scotland. It’s going to be tough but it will raise vital funds for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, the Army's National Charity, providing a lifetime of support to soldiers, veterans and their immediate families.
"I am the team captain for 'The Scroggie Windles' taking part in the Yomp. We are a team of 3 normal guys who work for Dundee City Council, that want to raise funds for the ABF The Soldiers’ Charity. Our target is to raise £1,200 - £1,500.
"If this is something that would be of interest I would love to have a conversation to see how we can work together. I appreciate that you will have your own charities to which you may donate but I wanted to reach out to the brands that I use, as I am a big believer in supporting good companies that have helped myself. I really appreciate you taking the time to read this email. If you think that you are able to help in any way that would be amazing. We have a donation page which is linked below;
"We are only at the beginning of our fundraising journey but want to make a great start with fantastic sponsors supporting us. I shall be promoting our sponsors and fundraising on Twitter and Instagram and are currently creating a list of fundraising opportunities over the next few months. Any help no matter how big or small will be greatly appreciated."
I did some research and found out more. One thousand people participate and it's not a walk in the park. 24, 26 or the full gruelling 54 miles. Some of the pictures I'd seen of participants' feet on twitter were - stomach churning!
How can I help?
Small companies get many requests for sponsorship and we'd love to help everyone - but I'm of the opinion that 'give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, teach and man to fish and he'll feed himself, and others'.
I have fibromyalgia which means I couldn't do what these guys are going to do. But I can at least support them in their efforts to support others.
To start, I've send three 'Foot Care Packages' with everything from Foot Balm, Foot Salts, Foot Soap, pumice and few other goodies - it's not just about the journey, but about the preparation. They say an army marches on it's stomach, but one of the first things they teach you is how to look after your feet. Break your boots in lads!
I have many friends who are ex-military. Some of whom have seen conflict, war and military interventions that have changed them, for life. I think this is a challenge that I'd like to support, in whatever way I can.
Will you help a little too? - http://fundraising.