Tag Archives: Martin House

Holly took a stroll through the deep dark wood

On a beautiful early Autumnal day, Holly and I went out for a little adventure. The weather has been so warm over the last week that we couldn’t waste the opportunity of getting some fresh air and exploring somewhere different.

After a quick browse online, I found Seckar Wood Nature Reserve . If you know the Wakefield area at all, it’s about one mile from Newmillerdam . Holly hasn’t been to a woods before. We packed a picnic, and invited some friends (Holly brought the Gruffalo, I brought Marty bear from Martin House).

There is a free car park that can accommodate 20 cars, we were the only ones parked. We passed Newmillerdam which was heaving. However, for the two hours that Holly and I were out and about, we saw one other person. It was sublimely relaxing to just listen to the birds, our steps reverberating off of the hollow floor and leaves crackling under our feet.

Holly was a little nervous at first and refused to open her eyes. However, after we had our lunch, she seemed to come out of her shell. It was great to watch her negotiate the tree roots as she walked, and look at things with anticipation and excitement. A simple but splendid day together. Please enjoy our photos of some of the lovely and interesting things that we saw.

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York 10K and one year on

Well we did it, we completed our final 10K to raise funds for Martin House Children’s Hospice. I think Mark and I both found this one particularly difficult. It was a really warm day with zero breeze. However, York was the most perfect and beautiful location. This time my Mum walked the 10K, a big challenge for her as she’s riddled with arthritis and hasn’t had any proper exercise in a while. In the end, we all felt a huge sense of achievement. Especially Mark and I as we’d run all three of the 10K’s.

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Altogether,  Team Tink has so far managed to raise £2,089.01 (£2,533.73 with gift aid) we’re so pleased with the total but, if you haven’t already sponsored us, there’s still time! Just think, each £250 raised pays for a weekend of respite care for a family who has a child with a life threatening/life limiting illness. Being on the other end, I can’t express to you how valuable that is.

It was also very special as a couple of days after the run marked the first anniversary of Keara’s death.

What a difficult year it’s been. I can honestly say it’s been the hardest year of my life. I miss her terribly, but losing her and the time passed has taught me so much.

First, Perspective; I think I can now see the things in life that are truly worth the worry and effort. This is most evident in my relationships. My family mean the world to me. However, I’ve noticed that some of my friendships seem to have become more distant like awkward acquaintances . I’m wondering if these people have their own unresolved issues about bereavement or feel uncomfortable talking to me. They shouldn’t I’m still me. Having said that other friendships have flourished. It’s amazing what a difference it makes when you receive a text message from a friend letting you know they’re thinking about you, and acknowledging that you’re in pain and that they care.

My daughter and husband are my universe. I’m in wonder of Holly for every milestone that she reaches, and I’m always bursting with pride for her. I cherish every birthday of my loved ones, ever excited as if it was my own. Having watched my mum lose her daughter, I will observe every birthday of my own daughter’s with joy, excitement and with a huge smile upon my face.

Second, Patience; I don’t seem to be in so much of a hurry these days. I now find impatient people quite irritating.

Third, Frugality; Money seems quite dull in comparison to the amazing relationships I have. I loathe materialism for the sake of it (give me an afternoon playing in the sunshine with my beautiful daughter and nephews any day).

Fourth, Fearless; I’m up for trying things that I’ve been scared of and discovering new passions in my life. I’m also finding that I’m caring less about what unimportant people in my life think. (blog post coming up about a fear I’m overcoming)

Fifth, Faith: I think I’d have cracked up without it!

Although Keara has gone, she still teaches me so much, I’m forever thankful for my relationship with her. So here’s to moving forward, with lots of silliness, excitement and fun and remembering how lucky I am to have had her in my life.

Leeds 10K. We did it! 2 down, 1 to go!!

Last weekend on a very wet Sunday morning, we ran our second 10k for team Tink. I knew there were more hills and the grey damp weather made me feel quite nervous.  However, one thing was very different. This time we had 4 more team members. My sister Becky and her husband Matt. Matt’s sister Jemma, Steve the chilli pepper (Jemma’s boyfriend)

It was such a wonderful support knowing that we were all there together running for Keara, raising money for such a fantastic cause. Mark and I both improved on our times. Mark finished in 59:28 I finished in 1:12:39, we were very pleased with ourselves as we had done minimal training since the Hull 10k (I’d done one run!). I was especially proud of Becky who managed to jog all the way round after having surgery on her face only  a couple of weeks before. Also extra special hugs to my mum who was a volunteer steward for the race on behalf of Martin House children’s hospice. If it wasn’t for people like her who give their time, the Leeds 10k wouldn’t happen

Hope you enjoy our photos, please check out our sponsor page and give if you can. Our last run is in York on the 31st of July. That’s 2 days before Keara’s first anniversary. I’m sure it’ll be a very emotional day for us all.

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Hull 10K. We did it! 1 down, 2 to go!!

Well this morning, Mark and I got up bright and early, drove to Hull and ran a 10k to raise money for Martin House in memory of Keara. To be honest, it was one of the most invigorating things that I’ve ever done!

I was particularly proud of Mark. It was the furthest he’s ever run and he managed it in 61 mins and 30 seconds. I did it in 72 mins and 3 seconds. I was over the moon with my time. I’ve found training really difficult and haven’t done any serious running for 2 1/2 years.

During the race, I ran past “The Deep” –  I have such fond memories of going with Keara, she loved it there. I thought of my beautiful sister all the way around and it spurred me on. I felt quite emotional but remembered so many wonderful happy times that we shared together as a family.

I hope to improve my time over each of my next two 10k races and, for the last 10k race which is in York in July, I’d like to do it in an hour. We’d like to thank everyone who has sponsored us so far. We would welcome any further sponsorship for our other 10k races.

Please enjoy our photos and yes, they are fairy wings that we’re wearing ;0)

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Team Tink Triple 10k Challenge! Please help ;0)

As some of you are aware, my little sister Keara died last August at the tender age of 11 years. It has been such a difficult year, probably the hardest of my life. However, even though we lost such an important love of our lives, it was made bearable by Martin House Children’s Hospice. Keara often visited for short breaks which she absolutely loved. She also spent the final hours of her life there.  They looked after the whole family and supported us in all of the preparations that we needed to make for Keara’s final farewell.

I will never be able to truly put into words the difference that they made. I will never be able to repay them for the care and compassion that they have shown. So in memory of Keara and in celebration of her life, we have set ourselves a challenge. Mark and I are going to run 3 10k’s this summer, and hope to raise as much money as possible. We’ll also be joined by other family members and friends for 2 of the runs. Keara’s nickname was Tinkerbell, therefore we’re calling ourselves “Team Tink”.

We know it won’t be easy, I haven’t seriously run for 2 1/2 years. Having said that, any struggle I have will be nothing compared to the difficulty that so many children face who visit Martin House. To put it into context every £250 pays for a weekend of respite care. That support makes an immense difference to the families of children who have life limiting and life threatening illnesses.

I will think of Keara every step of the way and I hope that you will support us. Please visit our sponsorship page, any sponsorship would be gratefully recieved. I know that everyone is strapped for cash, but I can tell you from the heart that your support will be life changing. 

Enjoy some photos of our beautiful blonde princess Keara (aka Tink)

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We’ll be updating you on our runs as we go, our first 10k is on Sunday 15/05/11; that’s this Sunday!!

So much more than a quilt.

To be honest, I’m not sure where to start. I suppose this starts with a challenge.  In January 2009 after many years of spending silly amounts of money on nonsense Christmas presents, my older sister set the family a challenge of making our presents for each other. We all felt a little daunted to start with, but we agreed.

I had lots of little projects on the go for the whole family including making piccalilli, candles and lavender salt bags for the bath. However, I had one big project. I desperately wanted to make a quilt for my little sister Keara. The thought had come to me quite quickly but it took months to get the materials together.

The colour scheme was simple. It either had to be pinks or purples “Keara colours”. As Keara would be 11 years old in October and quite the distinguished young lady, I decided to go for purples and lilacs. I started my search in Batley near Keara and Mummy’s home at Colway and Sewon. I found some lovely fabrics there for approx 80% of the quilt. I love this shop, the staff are so amazingly friendly and the material is excellent.

I started to think of patterns but knew I didn’t have enough material to make a single quilt. During this time, we happened to be on our annual family holiday. this usually comprises of my mum, Keara, sister’s Bex and Emma and their husbands and children. We also invite Bex’s in-laws the Coolings. Each year we go away somewhere in the UK and in 2009 we decided to go to Prestatyn in Wales. One day Mark and I ventured out to Anglesey on our own. There had been some literature in the holiday let that we were staying in about a craft shop on the island called Copperfield Crafts. The shop was tiny but full of lovely fabrics and fat quarters. That evening, I cut the fabric into squares and Mark helped me to get an idea of a pattern.

I was a bit nervous of sewing the quilt. Due to time and expecting our first baby that December I decided to use my sewing machine. My Mummy had bought me the machine as a wedding gift and it had never even been out of the box. It’d been 15 years since I’d last used one. All in all, the quilt took me about a weekend to make. I also made a matching pillowcase to go with it. I wrapped it and waited excitedly for Christmas to give it to Keara.

We had a big family Christmas and we gathered around as Keara opened the quilt. She loved it and it stayed on her bed until quite recently.

A few weeks ago,  keara became very ill un-expectantly. At the end of her illness, Keara went to Martin House Children’s Hospice in Boston Spa, a place that she had visited many times before, full of friends. She took her final breaths snuggled under the quilt whilst being cuddled by our mummy and surrounded by her family. It was one of the most precious moments I have ever experienced in my life. The quilt stayed with Keara until her final farewell when she went to church.

A simple home-made gift, that has now been returned to me. A precious reminder of the most amazing little girl, my beautiful little sister, wonderful god-daughter and inspirational life. I love you Keara xxxx