The London Shine Walk

Walking for Pete

Eve lost her husband, Pete, to complications arising from bladder cancer two years ago. She decided to take part in this year’s Shine Walk in London to help raise awareness and fundraise for Fight Bladder Cancer, raising an incredible £840.

I guess the first question to answer would be, why did I take part in the #LondonShineWalk2015?

I took part in the Shine Walk (a walk to raise awareness and money for cancer research) in memory of my husband, Peter, who was diagnosed with bladder cancer almost two years ago, aged 55.

When Pete was diagnosed, I knew nothing about this type of cancer and we both had so many questions. I went to the hospital to see where all the leaflets are kept and found information on every kind of cancer apart from bladder cancer. Luckily (above all the places I expected to find help) I found the bladder buddies on the Fight Bladder Cancer Confidential Forum. I joined, made some great friends and learned a lot.

Mine and Pete’s new friends were on hand to answer questions day and night – through some of our darkest hours. No question was off limits. Pete was wide awake in the early hours one morning. He couldn’t sleep because he was worrying why his testicles had swollen and was afraid that, perhaps, the cancer had spread there. He said, ‘See if anyone else is awake for me and ask this question.’ I duly did as I was told and within 5 minutes was discussing the size of men’s testicles with complete strangers! Needless to say, Pete was not the only one who had experienced this problem and he went to bed happy that it was something that sometimes happens after surgery.

I finally got to meet my Bladder Buddies at the Fight Bladder Cancer Dinner Dance this autumn. Sadly, Pete was not with me, as he died in the September aged just 56. It was something I never imagined would happen. Pete was my soul mate and it would have been our 30th wedding anniversary next July. The Dinner Dance was wonderful as I could finally put names to faces and meet all my buddies in person. I felt like I had known some of these people all of my life.

When the chance came to walk a half marathon through London to raise money and awareness, I knew who I had to do it for. I donned my Fight Bladder Cancer T-shirt, and as much orange (FBC brand colour) as I could wear, and off into the night I went. There were 5 of us walking for different cancer charities.

However, after a good start, we got to the 3 mile mark we realised that maybe we had set off to quickly. We hadn’t felt this tired when we were training, but then, that was usually the middle of the day and we were walking along the beach. Now it was 9pm in Central London, dark and cold. 10 miles had not been a problem while we were training, we had done it a few times and we guessed the adrenalin on the night would fuel us for the final 3 miles. How wrong were we?!

‘Oh my God, we are only at 3.5 miles’, said Sandra. ‘We started off to quick’, I said, sounding like somebody that walks 13 miles through the night regularly. ‘Come on girls, keep going’, said Carla. ‘Think of what we are doing this for.’ We carried on, arriving at pit stops to be refuelled with water, bananas and breakfast bars. ‘

Oh no, now I need a wee’, was the cry after every pit stop, as our own bladders were now full of water. By 10 miles we had all become very quiet, apart from stopping to take the odd selfie and posing with various attractions around London.

In this quiet time we found time to tell each other about our varying problems; mine was my back, Sandra’s was her hips, Vicki had shin problems. Carla and Sarah never moaned and just got on with it, pushing us on.

By 12 miles (selfies still ongoing), Vicki was in tears, ‘I am in soooo much pain’, she said. We stopped at every bench, railing and step to stretch our limbs through tears and lots of laughter, realising how unfit we all were. Vicki had lost her friend two weeks earlier to leukaemia. I said, ‘Come on, think of the pain Ginny and Peter were both in. We can do this – a cup of tea and a bath and our pain will be gone.’ We laughed as I said, ‘Just listen to us, its not like we are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro!’

At 1 am the torches and the red carpet were in sight, and we finally passed the finish line. We had our photos taken like celebrities, with a huge medal hung around our necks. ‘We did it!’ we cried and all hugged each other. Carla’s husband came to pick us up in his van. We slept all the way home. I woke up once and looked around and began to laugh uncontrollably. We were all freezing, we had day-glo bobble hats on with our hoodies pulled up over the top and wer wrapped in big silver tin foil blankets. I said, ‘We look like refugees hiding in the back of your van.’

We finally crawled into bed at 4 am with sighs of, ‘Never again!’ but actually, we have all changed our minds. Roll on next year.”


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