Mairi Henderson from Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway, decided to walk the 2020 Glasgow Kiltwalk with a group of friends in memory of her mum who sadly passed away following a battle with Myeloma. They have been training since September 2019 and have raised over £1,300 for Beatson Cancer Charity. This is her story...
I wanted to walk the Kiltwalk after I lost my mum two and a half years ago to Myeloma Cancer.I said to Amy last June that I wanted to do the Kiltwalk for Beatson Cancer Charity, as both of our mums were treated at The Beatson. I understood I was 18 months ahead of her in the grieving process – and so I wanted to make sure it was something she wanted to do, which it was. It was her idea to ask Susan and Rachael, who are very good friends of ours, if they wanted to do it as well. They very kindly agreed and are probably regretting it now!
Amy and I very much felt that until our mums went to the Beatson that the awareness of The Beatson wasn’t very high, especially down in Dumfries and Galloway where we are based. We thought it would be good to raise some money for the charity and do something worthwhile and kept us fit, and raised awareness of the charity and the facility itself.
So that was our main reason for doing it. We started our training in September 2019 and have gradually built it up to complete 17.5 miles before the Coronavirus struck here!
Once we are allowed to move more freely again, we will take up our training again to keep us fit until the Kiltwalk is rearranged.
To date we have raised just under £1,300 online which we are delighted about. We also have some offline donations as well. I work for Scottish Enterprise and they have a charity fund that will put £150 sponsorship towards charity activities. I applied to this scheme and it was approved just last month. Once restrictions are lifted at this time, they will be sending a cheque in my name straight to Beaton Cancer Charity.
Anyone receives sponsorship are encouraged to write a blog about their fundraising, which then goes out on the staff intranet to around 1,500 staff who are based throughout Scotland. This is a great way to raise awareness of the charity as well. It is great to do this so people realise that although The Beatson is based in Glasgow it treats thousands across Scotland.
My mum was diagnosed with Myeloma in May 2015. Throughout her treatment she got several different types of chemo and she also had stem cell treatment at The Beatson. The stem cell treatment was fantastic – it was pretty horrific for her to go through and the whole process was hugely difficult but when she was back on her feet she felt and looked amazing.It really was fantastic the change in my mum. The staff at the hospital were amazing, her experience was very positive and successful.
Towards the end of my mum’s treatment she used the Wellbeing Centre – which was hugely beneficial for her. She was able to chat to people who had been through something similar. No matter how much my dad and my brother and I tried to understand and be there for her, we couldn’t fully understand what she was going through. People who have gone through it or are going through it can fully understand everything to do with having cancer, so that was hugely helpful for her. I think that is undervalued a lot.
The Kiltwalk is certainly more difficult than many people imagine – I looked up the training guidelines on the website and decided to follow those. All of us walk quite regularly anyway, me and Susan usually walk 4-6 miles a couple of times week, so we were all used to walking.It was still difficult – the first time we did a nine mile walk we found it hard, especially psychologically towards the end it was a struggle. The next time we planned to do 12 miles which quickly became 14 miles. During that walk we found the nine miles a lot easier.
The last walk we did was 17 miles which was very challenging. It was taking forever to clock the miles up, even though we were doing the same pace. The training is hard, both physically and psychologically, and allows us to see how hungry we get during the walk and make sure we are eating enough to keep our energy levels up.We have also seen where the aches and pains are each day, and how we can avoid these in future walks. The training has been really beneficial from that point of view.
I created a Facebook page called ‘Mums the Word’ focused on how we are getting on with our training, which has been great to keep our supporters and friends and families up to date. It is important to show people that have sponsored us that yes you have given us the money, but we are taking this seriously while having fun at the same time.
Mairi, Amy, Susan and Rachael for their efforts - make sure to find out more or donate on their Kiltwalk page here.