When Andy was diagnosed in 2011 we left the hospital not knowing anything about MS. Like many people we came home and Googled it, and that is how we first came across the MS Trust. The MS Trust has been a first point of call for us ever since; the publications and information leaflets have been fantastic in helping us as Andy’s condition changes. The booklets have also helped us talk to our children, Megan (13) and Oliver (11), and have been a fantastic source of information for them.
Andy and I took part in the Great North Swim in 2012 and then I took part in the MS Circuit Challenge at Goodwood in 2014 to raise money for the MS Trust. Seeing us fundraise made Megan want to get involved and when she saw the leaflets for My Garden Party she decided to have a go. The first garden party was held in 2015, she organised a bake off and a raffle and raised £1,000. In 2016 Megan decided to hold another garden party, this time with an Olympic theme, and it was so popular with family and friends that we had to use our neighbours' garden. This again proved to be a successful afternoon and raised £2,000.
My latest challenge
2017 sees me turning 40 and as I was contemplating my birthday I came up with the idea of tackling four events, one for each decade, with the plan of getting fit for 40! The idea grew a bit further as I decided to raise sponsorship for the MS Trust and to attempt either new challenges or longer distances. By December it was all planned, my four events would be a Tough Mudder in May, a two-mile swim as part of the Great North Swim in June, a triathlon in July, followed by the Great North Run in September.
Whilst sat at home this seemed a great idea, but as I started training and the events moved closer I did wonder what I had let myself in for. My first event, the Tough Mudder, seemed to come round very fast. Luckily I had great support from family and friends, and instructors at Virgin Active gave me encouragement and lots of training tips.
I tackled the Tough Mudder with a friend and it was an amazing event, very tough going but a great experience, leaving me with great memories and many bruises! It was the perfect event to kick start my challenges and my 40th celebrations.
The two-mile Great North Swim was a very different experience as I tackled this on my own, although I did meet lots of great people during my swim. The swim was hard going with choppy conditions but I completed it in 1 hour 41 mins. When I left the water I had a bad case of wobbly legs, something that Andy tells me he can sympathise with. Luckily mine didn’t last long, unlike Andy who has symptoms like that on a regular basis. It was one of those moments that made me realise why I am doing the events and trying to raise money to support the MS Trust.
...two to go
I am now just under four weeks away from the triathlon and 12 weeks from the Great North Run. My training has started to change a little bit to include more running, something that I am not very strong at, so it will be a challenge to get up to the half marathon distance needed for September.
I am so grateful for the support of my family and friends, especially my husband and children who take me to all these events and wait patiently for me to finish. The level of sponsorship I have received has been great and I hope to get a little bit more before I finish my challenge in September.