I did it!! Yesterday I actually did a 5km. It wasn't a race, or a run and there was no competition involved. Just the way I wanted it.
I cried a lot of the morning, because it was much more overwhelming than I expected. As I was waiting at the start line a woman standing nearby said to me 'I'm pleased you're running for the Meningitis Research Foundation, we need it, I lost my niece to meningitis'. Well, that started me off!
There are only few circumstances in life, unfortunately, where the majority of people at an event are disabled. It's one of those those about being a part of a minority, you look around often and see nobody 'like you'. Disabled kids experience it at school, disabled people experience it daily in the street, the questions, the stares, the feeling yourself that you're standing out, that you're not the same. It kind of confidence-knocking, and hard sometimes, when just like most people you just want to be anonymous.
At Parallel London, the majority of people DO have disabilities and I can't tell you have amazing it felt. Just knowing that a lot of people there know the difficulties felt by daily pain, constant sympathy and inspiration porn was heartwarming and strengthening as I set off on the 5km.
The hashtag of the day was #sidebyside and it really felt like that was the case. There were loads of people cheering us on, other people taking part smiling, laughing, enjoying. Parents pushing their kids in wheelchairs, kids with walkers, people with all types of disabilities. I had written on my back 'ten years since beating meningitis' and people congratulated me, patted me on the back and wished me well. Needless to say I cried a lot.
I was doing it because for that reason, to mark the fact it's been 10 years since I had this horrible, horrible disease, to raise money, and just enjoy the day with others. That's why I chose to do it at Parallel London and I'm so pleased I did.