Amy's sister, Kathleen, ran the Brighton marathon last Sunday to raise money for the Gloucestershire Headway branch, which I attend every Wednesday, who have done so much for me and Amy.
I cannot describe how blown away we were by the gesture. Even though Kath is not my sister, I was incredibly proud of her. As I have mentioned before, the support we have received from family and friends has been incredible; this latest gesture sums it up. It is one thing to say a marathon is simply running 26 miles, but it is another to actually do it.
Me, Amy, Kathleen, their parents, Kathleen's boyfriend Sam, Kath's best friend Frankie, and her mum Jan, arrived in Brighton from different corners of the country to stay overnight in a Brighton hotel the night before. We were up too early for breakfast so we snuck bowls, cereal boxes and glasses of milk up to our rooms the night before because we had to be up at 5:30am.
Kath "carb loaded" the night before, which shows how organised her training has been, down to the smallest detail, making sure she peaks at the right time. The longest training run she did was 22 miles, leaving plenty in the tank for the day. It was no surprise, because she does not do half measures; she is one extreme or the other. All in, or all out.
A few weeks ago she visited us, to attend Headway with me to see the work they do. How many people would do that? I was so glad she was able to see first hand the place that means so much to me and Amy.
I ran the 2013 Gloucester 10k, but was nowhere near as prepared as Kathleen. I ran for the British Heart Foundation because I read somewhere heart disease is the UK's biggest killer. I did not see for myself how the money would be used, or witness their work. So when Kath asked if she could come to Headway, I did not hesitate. When I did the Gloucester 10k, I didn't have a cause close to my heart. At least my bleed has given me one - Headway. Not that I would swap the circumstances of the last two years for that! Headway have supported Amy and I so much, so we were blown away when someone close to us undertook a marathon. I would love to run a marathon one day, to raise funds for Headway. Firstly, as a way of thanking them and, secondly, by showing my bleed it has not beaten me. As I have mentioned before, I was once told by doctors I may never walk again, so apologies if I sound like an old record. But once you're told something like that, it kinda sticks with you.
We felt every mile as Kathleen ran around Brighton; watching her at each stage so focused on her end goal was inspirational. It did break my heart though when we saw her with half a mile to go and she burst into tears. I felt so proud to know Kath and so honoured by what she was doing.
Marathon training sums Kath up; it is such a mentally tough task, but she is incredibly head strong, and begins a nursing course later this year, which shows you how selfless a person she is, just like her big sister - it must be a family trait!
If anybody fancies donating, you can do here.