In March 2015, Moorfields Eye Charity’s inaugural Eye to Eye sponsored walk took place from Moorfields to the London Eye, to raise vital funds for the hospital. Annoyingly, I was unable to take part as it clashed with an appointment and the logistics of getting backwards and forwards were too complicated. I told myself it didn’t matter as I could always get involved the following year. However, with potential surgery number six looming menacingly on the horizon, I decided it probably wouldn’t be very sensible to sign up for the walk in March 2016 until I know what the plan is. For the past few months I’ve been bemoaning this fact to my long-suffering family. When one of my eye buddies on the Facebook support group site signed up for it and shared her charity page, I leapt on it with enthusiasm, sponsored her, and shared it in turn on my own page to encourage other people to sponsor her for such an excellent cause, wailing once more that I’d wanted to do it but was unable to commit at the current time.
The next day, I received an email from my sister: “Hey sis, I’ve signed up for Eye to Eye (aaaaaagghhhh – it’s like walking to Guildford and back twice!!) and then you don’t have to worry if you can’t do it but could do it with me if you can – whaddaya reckon?” What did I reckon… she’d only gone and signed up for the FOURTEEN MILE version of the walk… WHAT DID I RECKON?! My sister, who tends to bitterly complain ten minutes into a gentle hour’s geocaching ramble (okay, so maybe that’s more to do with the stopping and hunting for tupperware than the actual walking, but we’ll ignore that for now) had signed herself up for a FOURTEEN MILE trek across London?! I immediately rang her to double check that she’d really gone for the fourteen mile one, rather than the far more sedate and manageable four-mile option. “Well”, she said, in a slightly strangled voice, “Four miles isn’t much of a challenge, is it?” I pointed out that it really depended on who was taking up the challenge – if it was Paula Radcliffe, then four or fourteen miles wouldn’t really be a challenge. But for someone who can’t manage half an hour’s geocaching without complaining, it probably was. She then delivered the brutal blow: “But that’s because geocaching’s boring!” Naturally I was utterly lost for words at hearing this. Once I recovererd myself, I attempted to take a different tack, pleading, “But I don’t think I’ll manage fourteen miles, cos I’m still getting really knackered… won’t you change to the four-mile route so that I can definitely do that with you if it doesn’t clash with my surgery?” For a few minutes she seemed to be wavering, and I attempted to push home my advantage by warning, “Have you thought about how long it’s going to take you to walk that far?” This progressed onto googling how long it would take to walk fourteen miles, followed by a simple calculation that if normal walking speed is approximately 3 miles an hour then it would take almost five hours. That wasn’t taking into account any stops, or the time it would take to get there and then back to the train station and home again afterwards. “You’re going to be knackered!”, I warned. “And it’s actually going to be further than walking to Guildford and back!” She started to dig her heels in then, with a determined stubbornness well recognised by one who happens to possess such a trait in equal measure.
I knew there was no point in making any further attempts to get her to downgrade to the four-mile option. And now she’s announced her personal challenge to the world, on her JustGiving page. Her plan now is to get into practice by walking people’s dogs. It’s no use walking her own dog, because he’s getting on a bit now – he has a touch of arthritis and stops to sniff around at various objects along the way every five minutes or so. I’m looking into buying her a pair of boots for Christmas, especially for the Eye to Eye walk. The ones that children have, with wheels set into the soles – surely there must be an adult version somewhere? I figure that way she can surreptitiously hang onto the person in front if she gets too tired, and just get pulled along. At least she’s got a while to practice anyway, as the walk will be taking place on 13 March 2016. Maybe we’ll even fit a few geocaching expeditions in, under the pretext of ‘training’! 😉
For further information about the Eye to Eye walk, please see: http://www.moorfields.nhs.uk/content/eye-eye-2016, and if you’d like to sponsor my sister in her walking challenge, please do so via her JustGiving page at: https://www.justgiving.com/emseyes. The money raised will go to Moorfields Eye Charity, to support sight saving research into retinal conditions. We’re hugely grateful to everyone who’s sponsored her so far – in fact, we get incredibly excited whenever we notice that someone else has sponsored her, so as well as giving us a boost of excitement for the day you will also be doing a very good deed in donating towards an incredibly worthy cause. 🙂