My daughter, Ailsa, has Cerebral Palsy. Her type of CP is characterised by her muscles going from stiff to floppy in rapid succession and her whole body is affected, meaning she cannot stand, walk or generally care for herself unaided. As all her muscles are affected, her speech is very poor and she needs a carer presence 24/7. Despite this, she has her own flat with a live-in carer, and lives as independently as she is able.
Parallel London, an annual inclusive, accessible fun run, started in 2017 in London’s Olympic Park, and moved to Windsor this year (becoming Parallel Windsor). Ailsa took part in the London event a couple of times, but this year, she decided that she was going to walk the whole 1 kilometre course in her walker. She also decided that she wanted to raise some money for British-Ukrainian Aid.
So, we set off nice and early for Windsor Great Park on Sunday 2 July, and arrived (theoretically) in plenty of time for the start of the event. Other distances were being started and run as we headed towards the start line, bumping into Ellie Simmonds, the Paralympic athlete, on the way (which really made Ailsa’s day!), only to discover that the start had been brought forward!
Mad panic to get Ailsa into her walker, and settled, so that she could set off (late) down the historic Long Walk. She was hindered a bit by the camber of the road, which was something that she hadn’t had to contend with at home, during her training walks, and she kept veering off onto the grass. We had to walk alongside holding the frame of the walker to stop her. She kept warning us not to try and help by pushing her forwards, because she wanted to do the whole thing by herself without any help!
The Long Walk as a venue is quite daunting, because it is completely straight from Windsor Castle to the statue of King George III, and is over 2.5 miles long. Although she didn’t say so, I think that Ailsa initially thought that she was going to have to walk the whole distance! The relief on her face when we reached the 500 metre marker and she could turn round and head back was quite something!
The return leg turned out to be slightly downhill (we hadn’t realised that the outward part had been uphill) and after a bit of a breather and a drink, she set off for the finish line, where the relief and emotion took its toll and she promptly burst into tears as she realised that it was all over! She had started off hoping to raise £200.00, but with a bit of publicity in various social media groups, she had to revise her target to £500. She was convinced that she would never get enough sponsorship to hit that target, and has been overwhelmed by people’s generosity and, at the time of writing, she has raised £1035 (plus Gift Aid) for British-Ukrainian Aid.
Rather than upload too many photographs, I have included a link to Google photos so that you can see what a great day we had, and what an effort Ailsa put in to it:
If you feel that you would like to celebrate