There it is…in one month’s time I should hopefully be tucked up in my sleeping bag, (it gets dark early in the desert), having eaten a delicious freeze dried meal of shepherd’s pie and a mug of rooibos tea! I hopefully won’t have developed any drastic blisters on day one and there should be some good banter in and around the tents with other runners from the Uk and around the world…I am still establishing my tent mates but slightly winging it this year.
So, as more people at work become aware that I am taking on this “ridiculous” race (not my words), it is time to put it out there as to why I am running the Marathon des Sables for a third time. Well, firstly, I decided back in 2007 that it would be a fun thing to try and do every 5 years, and secondly, well it is one of the most beautiful places in the world that I have ever been to, and two of the most amazing and memorable weeks of my life I have ever spent – the first time was the catalyst that led me to becoming a nurse, so you never know what might happen. But also, I do feel that I need a really good challenge to once again ask people to sponsor me for a good cause – and I think the cause I am running for this time is rather special.
It is nearly 8 months since I moved to Cornwall to work at the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust in Truro in oncology nursing and it has been and continues to be a massive adventure. Each day at work is different, fun, sad, tough, rewarding and I am lucky to be working with a wonderful team of nurses and looking after an extraordinary group of patients. I am frequently asked by many of my patients what do I miss about living in London. Whilst there is very little that I miss, I do miss the rich cultural diversity of London that on a daily basis has the ability to remind you that your neighbours are not just those that you live next door to, but those who might be millions of miles away in war torn countries, & less privileged countries. It is all too easy living down here in Cornwall to forget the rest of the world or sometimes even the rest of the country.
So when I embark in one month’s time heading off somewhere across the Sahara Desert to run 150miles over 6 days in what is still rightly billed as The Toughtest Footrace on Earth, the Marathon des Sables 2017, what will hopefully be motivating me and inspiring me to keep running, putting one foot in front of the other, to share rudimentary sleeping quarters with about 7 other runners, to carry my life on my back through the heat, is that I will be running for Medecins Sans Frontieres. (Doctors withou Borders).
Working for the NHS in the current climate is definitely a daily challenge. I am privileged enough to have worked in one of the most wonderful and efficient hospitals in the UK – Guy’s & St Thomas’s in London. The Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro is no less wonderful but I am far more aware of the strains on the NHS and the services we supply to the public. In my department we have people on waiting lists for chemotherapy treatment because we simply don’t have the resources to see them all as they need it – there just aren’t enough hours in the day or enough trained nurses. But today, we only have to turn on the tv, or read something on Twitter or some other social media to know that even in the cash strapped chaos of the NHS that we are still so lucky. There are people in places that aren’t even reported about that don’t have access to the medical facilities we have.
Medecins Sans Frontieres go where most other aid agencies won’t or cannot go, they often have such meagre facilities to work with but they still carry on. They often work in war torn cities such as Aleppo in the middle of bombing raids and still carry on. Hospitals they work in are targeted and hit, and they still go back, they still carry on. They work with refugees and migrants all over the world and treat each and every human being as precious and valuable and with respect. I sadly overheard someone say recently that all refugees coming to the UK should be sent back where they came from and that we didn’t need them here and I felt so sad to hear a fellow Brit have that opinion. We have so much, and if someone thinks that it is worth the risk crossing treacherous seas in barely seaworthy boats to seek refuge or a better life, to end up in a squalid camp or asylum seeker’s centre then it feels like we haven’t progressed much since WWII.
It would be so easy to raise money for a UK based charity but I hope you will feel as I do that our neighbours are all around the world and with famine, disease, war and political unrest in so many parts of the world giving healthcare to those that don’t easily have access to the most basic medical care is a worthy cause. The healthcare workers who work for Medecins Sans Frontieres are an incredible bunch and do incredible work. They inspire me everyday to be the best nurse I can be and I hope somewhere down the line I might get to work for them – but for now I just hope to raise as much as I can to help them in their valuable work and I hope that by doing something as crazy as a third Marathon des Sables you might be inspired to sponsor me – it will definitely motivate me up those sand dunes!
To sponsor me please go to my fundraising page:
Thank you so so much.