After seven days of 6-7 hours a day cycling up hilly terrain my legs were suffering so we parked up near Durino, close to Venice yesterday and had a day of rest. Towards the end of the day I heard another voice in the mountains.
A lady called Sharon sent me a message of support along with her donation and was kind enough to share her experience of climbing mountains, or using her own metaphor volcanos. I would like to dedicate today's cycle to Natasha Bromhead.
Natasha lost her fight on 13th February this year. She was just 37 years old and was suffering from a very rare cancer. She was very ill for 6 months, struggled in pain through two operations, chemo and radiotherapy which unfortunately did not buy her any time. I'll let Sharon's message tell you the rest ...
"Natasha was in hospital a lot but wanted to come home and we had her for 4 days before the light went out in my world forever. She was married with a five year old son, Tyler. She struggled to have him and then it was snatched away from her this year.
Today her son and husband did a 10 mile bike ride and we were very proud of Tyler as he is only little. My younger daughter and l have struggled today as 1 year ago she was in a wheelchair cheering them on (Tyler was on a tandem bike with daddy - this year he had his own bike) A volcano describes how l feel losing my daughter. l know how lucky l was having her for 37 years but she was my baby and it was too short a time.
There are days where l just want to stay in bed but l have other responsibilities so l have to carry on. When people stop me and ask 'How are you now? Have you recovered? I find that really hard as l will never recover! I loved her then , now and always. What a fantastic thing you are doing my friend , my heart and love are with you and Lotte as it will always be with my Natasha. I wish you a very safe trip and your wife would be so proud of you and l am sure will be by your side every step or should l say pedal of the way. Thank you so much, I hope you raise lots of money. I see you have arrived in Italy. I will go on line and donate. We have done 2 walks - one for cancer and one for the Phyllis Tuckwell hospice who we owe so much to. Safe return Dave and tickles for Lotte."
Sharon's story reminds me that others are making the journey and encourages me to dig deep and keep going. I am very grateful to CRUSE Bereavement Care and to my counsellor in particular, Marion Dennis. Most of our journey through grief is a solitary road, but organisations like CRUSE help by providing signposts and direction. It's up to the individual to take the steps at their own pace but I found CRUSE helped to show me the way.
Sharon, thank you for your support and for having the bravery to share your story. What an amazing little fella Tyler is. You should be very proud of yourselves that even though you are struggling up mountains and dodging boulders, you are still all making an effort to raise funds yourself and help others.
I am blown away by all the amazing messages that we have received about our journey so far. The amount raised to date is truly outstanding. My heartfelt thanks go out to every single one of you who has sent a message, followed our story and donated to our very special charities.
When I am cycling up a relentless hill and my phone pings, I know that I have just received another donation, then I think about all the children that the money will help and it just gives me that spurt of energy to get to the top.
Today I will be remembering Natasha and thinking of Sharon, Tyler and the rest of her family.