Natalie Copping tells us about how her youngest son James was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2014 when he was just three years old and why, as a family, they take part in The Twilight Walk.
The Charity was so supportive, and we know how underfunded brain tumours are and how little research goes in to finding a cure, so we wanted to do all we could to help and make people aware.
We first heard about The Twilight Walk in 2014, but James had just been diagnosed, and the following year he wasn't able to walk. So in 2016, we signed up as a family – me, my husband Jonathan, and our four children, Holly, Matthew, Samuel and James – and were ready to walk towards a cure. We've walked every year since in support of The Charity and to help raise money.
It wasn't difficult to raise the money. We got most of our fundraising from social media by sharing why we were doing the walk and a lot of people in our village donated too, including James's school and teachers, as they knew about his diagnosis.
As the day approached we began to get a bit nervous, because we were unsure what to expect. However, when we got there it was quite surreal to see so many other families like us; we weren't expecting so many people but were so glad they were there. It was difficult doing the walk because we'd just found out James had another tumour, so it was nice to have so many other people there uniting for the same reasons as us.
The day itself was very uplifting and emotional and it was lovely to look around and see on everyone's t-shirts why they were walking and who it was for.
The walk itself was comfortable and the good thing was we could do it at our own pace. You don't have to rush; you can just take your time and look around, relax a bit, then carry on with your walk, which was great for us as James found it very tiring.
He was five when he first walked and although he did like it, he's quite small so found it quite hard. It was great being able to stop for a bit and take in the scenery before carrying on.
To anyone thinking of joining The Twilight Walk, definitely do it! We'll continue to do it for as long as we can because they're a really good thing to do for The Charity, to raise awareness and money for research. It's great to do, just wear comfortable shoes and layers; you can get blisters and - even if the weather isn't warm - you still get hot! Other than that, enjoy it, it's a good walk!
James, now 7, said, “I enjoyed it, it was fun and exciting. I liked walking by the castle, especially with my family – it was happy."