This is typed from home whilst still in my smelly bike gear and drinking red wine! It was a great ride today (again) and it felt amazing to get closer to home turf (or tarmac).
Tess was my lead out girl and rode with me to Santon Bridge. We sang Abba songs along the shores of Wastwater which kept me going until I met Helen and Ken (fellow Ambleside AC members) who met me and rode the last section. It felt brilliant to be riding down the hill home. From there I was greeted by Richard from Cancercare.
I am sad that this challenge is over. It has exceeded what I wanted it to be. I hope too that it has achieved what I set out for it to do: develop a greater understanding of cancer, inspire people of all ages to get out there and do something they love and raise some money for charities that are so important to my family and those affected by cancer.
In many ways a challenge like this has parallels to my journey whilst I was very ill, being treated for cancer and in the early stages of recovery. I have always felt as though it has been a twisting road, sometimes travelled alone, sometimes with the support and friendship of others right by my side, always with others in the side lines and sending me love and thoughts from afar. I have grown closer to friends, made new ones, shared laughs, banter and stories. It has given me the space to step away from life’s hectic bustle to appreciate the simple things more- a game of bowls, swimming in clear lakes, a brew made by a person you love (argh, cringe!), playing frisbee, sunshine, a hot shower, reading stories at bed time to a small one, kindness of a stranger, a smile…
Although I have struggled with my eating at times and had a few unpleasant episodes it has been nothing compared to what some people face and it has made me realise what I am still capable of. My confidence has grown again through this adventure. What I have achieved is not amazing, it is what I have always loved and the support team that I have means that I have been able to embrace a ‘chosen challenge’ again. It is those people who face an ‘unchosen challenge’ that are incredible- they have no choice. The people undergoing harsh treatments, surgery, loss of a loved one, fear for one they love, especially if they are alone, have a large/ dependent family, live in a remote place, have other health conditions…
I am SO LUCKY in so many ways and this adventure proved that. I have an amazing team of family and friends who I need to thank.
B- my wonderful sister who has kept this blog updated and has interpreted my hand-writing at the end of the day and typed up my meandering thoughts.
Paul, Ava and Lou- for biking, running, walking, entertaining Tess and loaning us their motorhome. They have been totally amazing.
Maria- who biked with me for 3 days and tracked me down with a hand made banner.
Carrie- for climbing Ben Nevis and keeping us smiling.
Ben- for keeping me entertained, biking with me and loaning his driveway to us.
Hazel- for biking with me, keeping me smiling and sending positive vibes.
Britta- coming up Scafell Pike with us, exercising Tess (!) and generally been a great smiley, lovely friend.
Jo W- being a great biking partner and making me laugh
Richard- for getting me through some long bike days by sitting on his wheel and mucking in with us all
Rachel S- for keeping me chatting, playing Araf and keeping me company on a long bike day
Darren, Nellie and Alison Fishwick- being amazing hosts
Dave B- for providing top road support
Astrid- for a massage on the most needed day and some good chat
Lindsay and girls- the best water melon chunks ever, support and smiles (plus another great home made banner)
Sharon and children- great walking, talking and playing on our final summit
Helen Barnes and Ken Dacre – for meeting me to ride the last 15 miles and making it feel so special
To all of you who have read this, shared it, thought about it, sent messages and donations- thank you.
WHEELBASE- my bike kept going and my tops looked good!
LAKELAND TRAILS- for this blog and the tracker- you can no longer all track me!
PETE BLANDS- general support and selling tickets for my talks
ROHAN IN KESWICK- for a big donation
WILF’S- for providing a venue for my talks
However the BIG THANK YOU GOES TO MATT AND TESS…
Matt has been truly selfless this past 12 days, he has done everything in his powers to make this challenge happen and be successful. He is an amazing husband, dad and friend. Thank you.
Tess has been far more of an active part than I could have imagined and it has left me feeling excited about the adventures we can go on to have. I am so proud of her.
To me this is a beginning in a way and proved that there is life after cancer despite the life changing implications, I will never recover fully or get ‘over it’ but we will go on to have more adventures and enjoy life. There will always be a shadow- will it come back? Every niggle will not be treated in the same way and we cannot ever forget that Tess too may have the BRCA1 gene but as my wonderful mother always said:
‘It’s not about the cards you’re dealt, but how you play the hand.’
Thank you for reading this and sharing my challenge.