Terry and his wife, Sheila, took part in the London Bridges Challenge to support their daughter, Carly, who has Type 1 diabetes. Already keen walkers, Terry tells us about his challenge and their fundraising success.
We heard about the London Bridges Challenge when it appeared on the Diabetes UK website.
My wife Sheila and I have been interested in supporting Diabetes UK since our daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes six years ago at the age of 24. The massive upheaval that diabetes brings to a person's life made us determined to do something that could help fund research into ending this condition.
"Her spirit and determination set us all an example of dealing with adversity"
My daughter Carly teaches English at a secondary school and inspires us all with her positivity, energy and humour! It is not always like this, of course. She has her difficult days but generally she does not let ‘it’ take control. Her spirit and determination set us all an example of dealing with adversity.
We are used to walking as we have dogs and regularly do two or three miles a day, so the challenge of a 10-mile trek across the bridges of London appealed to us both. We did not do any specific training for the event but occasionally stretched our dog walking to an extra circuit of the common. Our walking boots were well worn in for the event.
The day of the challenge
"The atmosphere of the participants made it the most enjoyable event. It was and is a great way to see London!"
We set out on the Sunday and saw various groups and individuals join the train for the journey to Battersea Park. On arriving at the starting location there was a real ‘buzz’ which we found both exciting and inspiring. We had a start time of 10am and thankfully the weather was good for a walk. The ‘London Bridge Challenge’ T shirts, handed out to everyone at the start, were worn by the majority of walkers and gave the impression of a long blue wave weaving through the park. This together with the atmosphere of the participants made it the most enjoyable event. It was and is a great way to see London!
The walk itself was completed in just over three hours and apart from the odd blister or two there were no other injuries.We are both in our sixties and reasonably fit so we did not suffer too much. London is such a diverse city and the river is at the very heart of it. It’s bridges cross from one unique spot to another. As you get to the centre, the magnificence of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge were an added bonus to the walk. It also lifted spirits as the end of the walk was in sight!
With regards to the fundraising, we looked at the suggested target of £250 and decided to set our target at £1000. We thought of who we should approach and sent out an email to family and friends detailing the event and what we hoped to achieve. As we are both retired, we did not have the ability to raise money from work colleagues. We started a JustGiving page and most people donated through that. People were very generous giving what they could afford with others going way beyond. We found their generosity and encouragement a real inspiration for the challenge. Some of the funnier comments along with their donations provided us with a laugh.
Throughout the fundraising period, we kept our supporters informed of the progress as the donations came in. Without their encouragement and support our task would have been more difficult. One of the more obvious problems when embarking on this challenge is that there are many noble and important charities all fighting for funds. Diabetes Uk are just one. They are one of the 140 members of the Association of Medical Research Charities. These along with all the other charities and you realise that there is a limit to what people want to contribute to.
A successful day
The end of our walk was enhanced by the ‘presentation’ of a medal each and they now sit proudly on our dressing table. We both felt elated at completing the challenge and were encouraged and accompanied part of the way by both our daughters and their partners. The importance of our taking part in the challenge was just one aspect of the day. The other was the magnificent generosity of our family and friends who contributed £1458.00; a whopping 145% of our target!
Although a little sore the next day, we were both out walking the dogs in the morning.
If you want to join thousands of others and take part in the London Bridges Challenge to fight diabetes.