I am 24 years old and a few years ago I discovered exercise. I only ever really enjoyed netball as a youngster as I found exercise hard and I also found it difficult to motivate myself to do anything more.
However, recently I began to mature (just a little) and I developed an appreciation for the little things in life such as the great outdoors and part of that was also about maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
I think the real change in my life came as a result of living the ‘student lifestyle’. As during this time, I began to suffer from severe pains just on my right side, under my ribs. I put up with the pain (that was on and off) for about a year and a half as I didn’t want to make a ‘fuss over nothing’, until it became so extreme (lasting 10hrs) that I couldn’t take the pain anymore and I finally gave in and went to find out what the problem was, eventually I was told at 22 that I had developed gall stones and that I had to have my gallbladder removed as a consequence. I was also told that at 22 and being of a relatively slim build, that this wasn’t common and many people including myself were slightly surprised by the diagnosis!
Following my operation I made a full recovery and I realised that I needed to make some changes to my lifestyle! As a result I now regularly walk, run, and go climbing. I am a member of a Gym and I attend classes, such as spinning and yoga/pilates when I can find the time to fit it all in! Don’t get me wrong I still like to let my hair down and enjoy myself but since declaring my body as a ‘temple’ I have a whole new outlook on life!
So, I decided that it was also time to start thinking about other people and last year was the first time I did anything involving exercise for charity and I found it an extremely powerful and moving experience. I ran in the 10k Race For Life (at Temple Newsham), and I did it in memory of my grandma who died as a result of having cancer about 10 years ago. I completed the race in 1hr and 21 seconds, which I also know I have improved on since the event!! I managed to raise £77 for cancer research by asking my friends and family to sponsor me, which seemed like a lot of money at the time. However, after committing myself to the Kilimanjaro challenge I realise that although every penny counts my £77 wouldn’t even ‘scratch the surface’! So, one of the big challenges for me is going to be raising such a large amount of money. However, I am determined not to give up without a fight and have already held a raffle and have participated in 2 bag packing events in supermarkets, so I’m off to a good start!
For me this challenge is about gaining a life experience and being able to raise money for such a worthwhile cause is the real added bonus! I am not professing to be the fittest person in the world but I like to think I do ok in the fitness stakes and I enjoy challenges, so this one will be an exciting adventure for me. I am already in training and am also hoping to do some sponsored events before the trip next October, so hopefully I will be as prepared as I can be … I’m just hoping that I’m not affected by the dreaded altitude sickness!
Wish me luck!!
Barnsley MBC – Children, Young People and Families