08 May 2010

I am walking, I am walking...

I got on so well last year with my first ever Mini Marathon that I decided to do it again this year: Bank Holiday Monday 7th June – Dublin – Women’s Mini Marathon – 10k – me and some 40,000 other women: the largest All Women’s event of this kind in the world! (And all happening in our little island of Ireland).

And for someone who drives everywhere, 10k is a long way! So I have been in full training for the last few weeks:
- I walk two to three times a week, steadily building up the distance (I am now up to 8km... nearly there!)
- I have increased the intensity of my efforts in my local Curves Gym during my thrice-weekly visits
- I have even started attending a weekly Zumba Fitness class – it’s a mixture of Latin dance and aerobics to cool Latino music. I’ll just say one thing for it: I though I was reasonably fit, but Oh - My - God! It is so energetic!

I must thank someone here who has been great at helping my training: Lorna, the manager of the Curves Gym in Ashbourne: apart from the encouragement, she gave me a loan of cardio music CD’s to download on my smart phone – it definitely upped my walking rhythm and it pulls me along as I lap around my little village – and she also entrusted me with a cardio recovery board (the ladies who have been in Curves will know what I am talking about) until D-Day, to help me warm up and cool down properly, as well as getting some exercise when rain discourages me from go out (I don’t like rain!). It’s great fun making a little fool of myself in my own living room!

If after all this exercise I don’t loose the couple of kilos those lovely white chocolate Easter eggs have left behind, I don’t know what will.

But I am not doing this just for fitness: this year I am walking (I don’t do running, and I don’t do jogging – dodgy knee since my teens!) for Heart Children Ireland.

Heart Children Ireland is a voluntary organisation set up about twenty years ago by parents of children born with Congenital Heart Defects (CHD), with the overall aim of providing a support mechanism in Ireland for all who are affected by CHD.

To put things into perspective, one baby in every hundred in born with CHD. As for babies with Down Syndrome, the “odds” rise to 45 to 50%. About half of all children born with CHD need heart surgery, and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital (in Crumlin, Dublin) is the National Centre for Paediatric Cardiology in Ireland, carries out between 400 to 500 Open Heart Surgeries every year, on children from one day old to teenagers.

Heart Children Ireland started by offering support. To this day, they provide information, a forum for parents, counselling, a self-help group for bereaved parents. Their website has a section for 8 to 12 year olds who require hospitalisation (Hearts Play), and they are linked to the Down’s Heart Children.

They also work very closely with the Cardiac Unit of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, and the funds they have raised in the last few years have been used in such ways as:
- purchase of a new Heart/Lung Bypass machine – no open heart surgery can take place without it
- purchase of Digital Imaging Equipment, Echo Doppler Equipment, and equipment for the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit
- Funding of a Cardiac Liaison Nurse for 3 years
- Funding of a Cardiac Play Specialist for 3 years
- Fitting out of a playroom in St Brigid’s Ward (cardiac ward for the 1 to 16 year olds) and educational toys for St Theresa’s Ward (cardiac ward to the 0 to 12 months olds)
- Funding for the Pre-Admission Cardiac Programme
- Funding of a dedicated Cardiac Speech and Language Therapist and of a dedicated Cardiac Clinical Psychologist

Cathal’s Mammy and the Dad is better placed than I am to testify how this organisation has helped Cathal. However, there is no doubt in my mind that it contributes greatly in saving lives, and played a big part in saving Cathal’s. So I would find it hard to stay on the sideline and do nothing. Things look good for Cathal now, but so many other children can be saved with their help and contribution.

So if you wish to support my training efforts and the Big Walk on the day, and help me help Heart Children Ireland, just click on the donation link on the side of this post or here and donate on-line.
Now, isn’t that computer smart? So much for the “Silver Surfer” to quote but a certain TV3 lady presenter during a recent interview (see previous post) ;-)
Many thanks in advance for your support.

1 comment:

Clive said...

I am in total awe of you and what you do - the very best of luck to you in the MM.

- Fiona