I found myself being overly stressed over the last few weeks. To say waking up this morning after it was all over was a relief, would be a gross understatement. If ever you hear me thinking of organizing an event when I’m pregnant and in the midst of suffering from baby brain (and pain), please, please for the love of all that is good , sit me down and say NO.
Let me tell you about Mile in Memory. It is a UK wide fundraiser for The Lullaby Trust (formerly The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID)) which offers support to parents who have lost a child to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – Cot Death). The date this year was 11 May 2013.
This day is particularly poignant for me as it marks the 25th anniversary of my brothers death to SIDS. Being pregnant with my first long-awaited child, makes me even more terrified of a similar situation happening to us. When I seen the date I was struck with a thought that I had to do it. I had to raise awareness and money, the date was too much of a coincidence.
I went cap in hand to many local businesses and got a great response. I really was overwhelmed by how many people where willing to help out.
The weather this week went from gorgeous to horrible! Tuesday we had dizzying highs of 20 degrees (hey this is Ireland, to us this is a heatwave) by Friday we had downpours and whistling wind. It did not bode well for Saturday. This did not do anything to quell my nerves. Had a sob in the toilets in work. Can’t do anything about the weather I thought, I’ll just confirm everything for tomorrow. Called both photographers for the local papers. Just my sodding luck – both had forgotten. Me nerves folks, they weren’t well. Lead to more tears, it happens when you’re hormonal.
These things come in three’s, or so the country folk say, so I was waiting for something to happen. Then it did, the business that had volunteered to blow up our balloons with helium for our balloon release decided to say they were no longer going to do it for free, but wanted a £1 per balloon. Crisis. Cry. Again. Mad panic to find somewhere that we could buy a helium cannister.
Saturday dawned. Not that you would have known given that the sky was dark as night. Feck it anyway. The shower didn’t help, I couldn’t even muster enough energy to sing any of my usual jaunty shower songs.
Traveled out to our starting point to set up our raffle prizes/refreshment stands and blow up all our balloons for our balloon release. The sky turned from a murky grey to a… slightly duller grey. Like 50 Shades without the moody lead with ill-fitting clothes. The aul nerves were at me again, no-one was going to show this dank day. Twenty minutes before starting point no-one had showed. No press, no walkers, no people coming for a “nose”. So I did what every grown woman should do…ok, I lie, I had another little cry.
Then all of a sudden, people started pouring in the door. The Mayor, some walkers, the face-painter and the balloon-modeler arrived. I had a crowd! I may have looked like a crazed lunatic what with the kid-friendly pigtails, red blotchy eyes and jittery, nervous behaviour. Nice.
We had a delay setting off as I was waiting, pleading with the old Gods and the new, to see if a photographer would appear. Eventually she did, I was so relieved. I had worked with her before when I was promoting awareness of the charity, so it was great to see a friendly face. Not only that, but there it was – some blue sky! It was cloudy, but it was dry! More walkers arrived while we shot the official photographs. Started to relax a bit. We set the walkers off, while I stayed behind. Dodgy pregnancy joints made it impossible to walk the very hill-y route. I was full of intentions of doing it but the pain and an overprotective husband meant I had to miss this one out.
20 minutes later, they started to arrive back in dribs and drabs. The weather held out and everyone stayed dry. Everyone got fed and watered and then we went outside into what was now a windy and drizzly day to release our balloons. It was a wonderful release for a lot of people, given that everyone there had lost a child or a sibling to various causes during infancy and childhood. A few tears were shed and for the first time that they weren’t mine. The rain started again after the balloons released so back indoors for our raffle. I may need to introduce some family members to raffle-anonymous now.
All high on helium and what not
Off they go, do you see the slight bit of blue sky?
Away they go!
After the raffle was finished, we were left to tidy the rooms which was lovely and messy from some of our younger walkers bun eating skills! When we got home, I finally got to sit down for the first time in five hours. I don’t think my ass was ever as glad to sit down, I had been reduced to a hobbling mess by this stage. It was time to get counting, and I was completely overwhelmed to see we had raised over £1500 for The Lullaby Trust! With some donations still to come in. It really made it worth it, considering I had originally set myself a target of £400, this was almost four times that! The stress was worth it.
For more information on The Lullaby Trust: http://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/
If you would like to donate you can here http://www.justgiving.com/Dervla-O-Neill