Race for Life – My home town pulling together

Just some of the ‘Anna’s Butterflies Team’

With my local Race for Life fast approaching I wanted to write about the phenomenal response to my diagnosis at the 2015 event.  As I look back now at all the Facebook statuses it makes me emotional and I feel so lucky to have had so much support.  I wanted to go up and kiss each and every person but unfortunately due to my extremely compromised immunity I had to keep my distance.  There was an incredible number of people taking part, the town has never seen anything like this before!  Literally everywhere I looked there were groups of people, chatting excitedly, wearing Anna’s Butterflies t-shirts!  Everyone I have spoken to since thought the atmosphere was amazing and they were proud to be part of it.  it’s one of those times where everyone pulled together to do something very special for their fellow human being.  

A team named ‘Anna’s Butterflies’, because of my butterfly obsession, was created with a specially designed logo.  When I heard of this I was so surprised at the amount of people who wanted to take part because my Leukaemia fight.  Everytime family would come and visit me in hospital they would tell me of more and more people contacting them and signing up.  Lots of my friends took up running and are still running now and they are really looking forward to this year’s event.  To see all those people of all ages and fitness levels doing their best and proudly wearing the Anna’s Butterflies logo was humbling.  A lot of these people had never signed up before and their whole family took part too!

Everyone on Facebook changed their profile pictures to my butterfly logo and I remember seeing them all and it felt like we were all fighting this together, again I was so touched.

I love my logo!!

I was very weak as I had finished my second gruelling round of chemotherapy and was due back in hospital the next day for the third cycle.  So armed with a wheelchair (kindly leant me by a friend) and my trusty bottle of ice and Forti-juice (a prescribed calorie drink as I couldn’t stomach anything else) I went along to spectate.  It was the first time I’d been out in public since my diagnosis so many people hadn’t seen me and there were lots of kind words exchanged.

With the wheelchair and trusty bottle of ‘jungle juice’
Chatting to Melvyn from BBC Radio Lincolnshire before the start

I waited near the end for my Mum and Sister as I’d decided to walk a short distance and over the finish line with them.  We walked over the line arm in arm with my daughter and niece; it was a very special moment for us as I had been told I was in remission and compared to the previous two months when I’d been gravely ill I was quite well.
I’ve been asked how it felt knowing that all of these men, women and children turned out to support the event because of what was happening to me.  I’ve tried to live by something my Mum has always said (shhh don’t tell her I actually take her advice!) which is “be true to yourself”.  I’ve always wanted to be a kind, helpful and good person so I guess this day was proof that I’d achieved that. I have since given it some thought and here are a few words; touching, emotional, heartwarming, moving, motivating, encouraging, humbling, amazing!

After crossing the line

My daughter and niece

What I find hard to get my head around is that I have taken part for several years now and had always found it emotional and inspiring but never imagined I would a cancer fighter myself.  And that when I take part in years to come it would be for myself to celebrate and for others, friends and family who have lost their cancer battle.

Me, my husband and daughter ready for
the Race for Life a year before

The Butterfly logo in progress

One of the kind gestures – my friend’s Anna’s Butterflies themed nails, instead of paying her the
nail technician asked my friend to donate the money.

A Friend’s daughter
One of my daughter’s class mates and his sister

Even my friend’s baby had a t-shirt

If you don’t know what to do for someone who is fighting cancer then this is one thing that will show how much you care.
To each and every one of you I would like to say a gigantic thank you from the bottom of my heart, words cannot express how much it meant to me.  With your love and support I never felt alone.  Mwah “Butterfly”

Some quotes from the Facebook statuses after the event;

Can I just say it has been an absolute privilege…feeling bit flat right now but Anna you looked great today.  Here’s hoping you’ll run it with us next year as we celebrate your recovery, well done all xxx”

“What an amazing day, yes I broke my course record but that pales into insignificance when I see Anna and Vikki walking over the finishing line!!”

“Amazing Anna you are a true inspiration.  Was great to see so many there supporting you today.  Keep up that good fight!”

“I had a tear too, very proud of everyone there today…Louth has many wonderful people.”

“Well done guys, truly amazing stuff, proud to have such inspirational, strong people to call my friends.”

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