As the anniversary of my husband Barney’s death approached, I decided I didn’t want to sit at home, on my own; I wanted to mark the occasion.
Barney was determined for us to do all we could to raise money and promote research funding. He even donated his tumour on three separate occasions to help accelerate progress. So I felt I needed to do something too and help push forward research.
Barney and I loved walking, it was a passion of ours, so combined with being able to raise awareness and money, getting involved in The Twilight Walk just made sense.
I knew it would be moving and emotional but over the year since Barney died, being surrounded by friends and family was the way I got through the bereavement. I knew with all the support of the people who loved Barney around me I would feel buoyed up, so I decided to do my own walk.
The thought of actually doing it, how I was going to plan and manage this, was overwhelming a bit but actually it wasn’t that difficult. With the support of Abi (my Community Fundraiser) and a friend, it was actually quite easy and I managed to get everything together.
It was simple to get people involved too. I just phoned all my friends and family, put it on Facebook and emailed people to say that I was doing this and would anyone like to join me. I also used Facebook to share posts and facts about brain tumours, helping to raise awareness of how it turns lives upside-down and the way it affects families, whilst also raising money.
Thirty of us walked from our house along the canal and did a loop. We even stopped at a tea place, had refreshments and collected money from some lovely people. Because I wanted a cake sale as well, it was the perfect route, round robin to my house, have refreshments along the way, and when we got home all friends and family donated and happily ate cakes they’d helped bake.
After the event, I sent photos to a local paper and they put in a story about me and what the walk was doing to raise awareness and funds for The Brain Tumour Charity. I was scared about doing that initially but it was easy, it just took a simple phone call and before I knew it, my walk was in the paper. It was so worth doing too as I received a few more donations from people who had seen that article!
Organising a private walk, with just 30 of my family and friends was an amazing way to mark the anniversary, and people came from all over the country to join me. I think initially I was overwhelmed having all these people supporting me. When you’re grieving it’s a reassurance to know people are there for you; you know they are, but when they’re all there and doing it for a genuine reason, for me it was overwhelming in a very happy way.
We had a really good day, a lot of people said it was a nice way to remember Barney and it meant a lot to myself and our two son, Sam and Jack. It felt like he was walking with us and I know he would have appreciated it – what we did for The Charity and for him.
To anyone wondering whether to get involved, I would say, do it! Get fresh air and exercise, do something to raise awareness and help others affected by this awful tragedy. I’d also say choose a route that makes you happy and then just look forward and enjoy the day.