Sunday, 18 September 2011

Thank you.

To all of you who donated to my Just Giving page and helped raise over £1000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity, this post is for you...

I went round Hyde Park with a wand in my hand,
Feeling so proud I'd raised over a grand.
The messages I carried spurred me on,
As without you, it couldn't have been done.

A very special Thank You to quite simply say,
Your kind donation has made someone's day.
The money we've raised will make such a difference,
Hopefully giving families a better experience.

Medical equipment to save a broken heart,
A bed for the night so families aren't apart.
Specialist research and expert staff,
Cheerful wards to make children laugh.

Some of you worried what you gave was quite small,
But add it up and look at it all!
Thank you again, on behalf of Amelia and me,
and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity!


Tuesday, 13 September 2011


On Sunday I went to Hyde Park with about 10,000 other women to take part in the Adidas Women's 5K Challenge.

I felt very relaxed about the whole thing, knowing I put in the effort with my training and I was quite simply going to make it round the course best I could.  There were quite a few of us running for GOSHCC and we had a team photo before the race (I'm kneeling, 3rd from the right).

Then it was time for the warm up led my a Mr. Motivator type man on a stage surrounded by atheletic women in their lycra! I've only just noticed the enormous bear also taking part in the warm up! I didn't see it on my way round, so hoping I started ahead of it, rather than it starting ahead of me and beating me to the finish! I didn't quite finish the warm up due to needing a desperate wee. One more jump and I'd be doing a Paula Radcliffe.  My pelvic floor isn't what it used to be! Hmm, should have done more of those exercises!

After the warm up, it was time to find my starting place. I'd decided that I would be doing the 5K solo, without Amelia. I'd put a lot of effort in to my training and didn't think I'd be able to put it into practise if I was pushing Amelia around. She went with Daddy and my family to cheer me on whilst I made my way to the '35 minutes plus' zone.

Whilst waiting to start, I got talking to a lady called Sarah who was raising money for her local hospital. She was intrigued by the wand so I told her all about it. We got to talking about our strategy for the race. Like me she wanted to jog/walk her way round, and, like me, she was aiming to complete it in about 40 minutes! Brilliant, I'd found a jogging buddy! We set off and seemed quite well matched in our pace and when to walk for a bit. After about 1.5K though, I'd got through the feeling that my legs weighed 10 stone each, and was getting into my stride. We'd agreed beforehand that neither one of us would be offended if the other wanted to go on, so with a "might see you later" I went on ahead. Unfortunately I never did see Sarah again. I hope she made it round and achieved everything she wanted.

By 3K I realised I was on track to complete the course in 40 minutes. Averaging 8 mins per kilometre, it was important I didn't slow down too much. I knew my supporters would be cheering me on at the 4K mark and I wanted to be seen jogging past!  I was so excited to see them and as soon as I saw the giant GOSHCC flag in the distance I picked up my pace, giving a big smile and wave as I went past.

With just 1K left, I was nearly there! It wasn't the easiest of finishes. A few twist and turns, inclines and speed bumps to contend with but I turned the final corner and saw the finish line! Yippee, I did it in 41 minutes!

I had a fantastic time taking part and being around so many other women each running for their own reason was amazing. I feel proud of what I have achieved and even more so by the amount I raised for GOSHCC. But asked if i would do it again and my answer is still the same. Nope! I'd like to do an event with Amelia, but no serious running for me. I haven't got the running bug. This is the closest I'll ever get to running again...

and even then I'd much rather be leading the parade!!

Monday, 12 September 2011

GOSH: Amelia's story

25th May 2010.
Amelia's first trip to Great Ormond Street Hospital to have an ECHO, just 4 weeks old.

28th June 2010.
Amelia has a CT scan

14th April 2011
Amelia's operation day. Two weeks before her first birthday.

15th April 2011. One day after surgery.
Whilst the operation is common for GOSH, and we were often told by well meaning friends that "They do it all the time there", it is a serious operation and not without a number of risks.  During Amelia's operation she was put on a heart and lung machine whilst they stopped her heart to repair it. She was also given a complete blood transfusion. In the photo she has a tube to assist her breathing, chest drains to drain the fluid that built up around her heart following the operation, and external pace pacers should her heart need help getting back to it's natural rhythm. So you see, not at all simple but certainly successful.

20th April 2011
6 days after surgery, Amelia is allowed to go home.

11th September 2011
Amelia now. Raising awareness and money for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity.

My Just Giving page will remain open for another 3 months so if you still want to donate click here.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Looking back : Looking forward

Four months ago I made the decision to take part in this year's Adidas Women's 5k Challenge. My primary objective at the time was to raise as much money for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity (GOSHCC) as I could. Amelia's operation was still very fresh in my mind, being only a month prior, and I felt I needed to do a fundraising event sooner rather than later.

As the weeks and months have passed I have found the whole process to be a great deal more than just raising money. What surprised me was how much I needed to let go. Over a year of built up feelings needed to find their way out; training and writing this blog has proven to be a positive way of channeling these feelings.

Every time I went out for a jog in preparation for the Adidas Women's 5K Challenge, I would be thinking over my next blog post, thinking about the events that had led me here and how I could tell you my story in a way that would emphasise how much GOSHCC need your support, yet also in a way that wouldn't have you sobbing on the sofa for the rest of the day. Comments received about my blog plus the staggering total on my Just Giving page suggest I got the balance right.

Right from the start, I decided this was to be my only fundraising attempt; it is not going to be an annual thing so you can be assured I will not keep pestering you for money!  I would still like to take part in events for GOSHCC, but I will not be asking for sponsorship.  I still maintain that I am not a natural runner, although I may participate in the occasional 'fun run' for GOSHCC. In all honesty I can't wait to go back to the comforts of my Wii Fit, cross trainer and Desperate Housewives! After Sunday I will no longer embrace the outdoors for my fitness fix!

Crossing the finish line in Hyde Park on Sunday will not only represent the end of the race, but an end to a difficult year. I feel I've been able to make peace with what has happened and it is now time to move on and look forward. The journey has been positive, not only in Amelia's successful operation and recovery but in the fundraising that has been done since. I'd never had believed that I would be going round Hyde Park with almost £1000 for GOSHCC. I'm eternally grateful to all of you who have donated to GOSHCC, as without you, the hospital would not be able to go on looking after children in the way that they do.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

The magic number!

Here it is, my race number for next Sunday!

It's all very professional and serious which scares me slightly as I am no where near professional (although for those who have given me their hard earned cash, I am taking this seriously)!

Along with my number I was sent a magazine outlining the event, interviews with past runners, advertisements from different charities, etc. I straight away flicked to the page about what to do on the day and where I needed to go. I discovered that I had to pick an appropriate 'zone' for my running ability. OK, let's see..

"The front rows at the start are for the elite and celebrity runners only"  Nope, not me!

"The next zone is for runners capable of 25 minutes or faster. There were just 150 runners who achieved this time last year so do not promote yourself to this zone unless you are a competent and regular runner and confident of running the whole distance at this pace".  I can't say I'm competent and I'm not feeling so confident here so I'm thinking... nope, that's not me! Next?

"Behind the sub 25 minutes zone is the zone for 25-30 minutes. Again this is for regular runners..." Hmm, don't think I'm suitable for that zone. Oh, dear is there going to be a 'zone' for me? Let's see about the next one...

"The next zone is for those capable of 35 minutes or faster. Most of you who intend to jog the whole way will be in this zone." Now this is sounding a little better. It was my intention to jog the whole way, however I have not achieved this in my training. I blame the many hills I have to encounter. Norfolk is supposed to be renowned for it's flat landscape yet there seem to be an abundance of hills and gradual inclines in my area! Silver Road and Constitution Hill are a dream to jog down; indeed give me a 5K downhill route and I'd love it!  But jogging up them? I'm afraid I have to walk.

"The final two zones are for those likely to take over 35 minutes, whose main aim is to simply complete the course."  If I had done no training I know I would be able to complete the course, so that's a given. If I do the combined jog/walk approach, as I have been doing in my training, this is probably the better zone for me. My target is 40 minutes. This seems realistic for me and if I do end up jogging it all I could lead the pack! Haha! I could win (sort of)!

There is an extra line that suggests an alternative. "...if you have children with you, and/or especially if you have buggies... you should start in this zone." This suggests I could go round with Amelia in her buggy! How great would that be?! After all, it's because of her that I am raising money for Great Ormond Street Children's Charity and doing the event. I'm sure Amelia would love to go whizzing round in her buggy and certainly something to be proud of when she's older. If it really is a possibility on the day, then I think this will be the number one option.

Decision made then! All that's left to say is please sponsor me if you haven't already!!! I'm really doing this, I even have a special GOSHCC T-shirt to wear, and it means an awful lot to me. Please show that you support me by clicking here. Thank you. xxx

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

They said it; They showed it.

This weekend my Mum celebrated her 60th Birthday; Hollywood Style! Amongst the glitz and glamour (and Johnny Depp cardboard cutout), there was a very special cause that was brought to everyone's attention - Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity (GOSHCC).

Mum wanted to use her birthday party as an opportunity to add to the money already raised on my Just Giving page, and so told her guests that she did not want them to bring her a present, but rather give that money they would have spent on a gift, to GOSHCC.

The delight Mum had when totting up all the money was possibly far greater than the numerous gifts she would have opened. £300 was the total! An amazing amount of money. I think what it really showed to us was that all these people who said they cared - by asking after Amelia before and post op - had now actually shown they cared by donating to the cause.

With just over 3 weeks to go (goodness is that all?) until The Adidas Women's 5k Challenge and I close the door to this part of my life, I hope that those of you who have not donated, do. I know many of you cared a lot about how Amelia was doing during her operation, and you want to show you care but haven't got around to it yet. Don't put it off for another day, do it now, it doesn't need to be a lot. Click here. And if you've already donated, still click here and see how much you've helped to raise! xxx

Sunday, 31 July 2011

On My Way

Training for the Adidas Women's 5k Challenge is well underway and going well. I try to go out 2-3 times a week and am gradually building up the distance. At home, I've got a certain little person keeping me on the move and I think she'd quite like to give the 5k a go herself - if crawling was allowed...

Just over 3 months ago Amelia had heart surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Just look her now. This video is her little thank you to those at GOSH for helping her get to where she is today. Please sponsor me so that more children can go on to lead a better life and do wonderful things. x