Doing the Awareness thing & planning like a terrorist

It's the beginning of Heart Week, and it is glorious for those of us in this game for a long time to see the scars and the red tops and the t-shirt with "I survived heart surgery" on them.  So thank you, you've made an old cranky GUCH smile!

As ever there's been Facebook spats on the appropriateness of some of it, some preferring the good news story variant of life to the reality of a mix of great highs and lows. I can understand the former, but relate more to the latter - if life as a GUCH, or a kid with a dickey ticker, or the family of any of us with congenital heart defects was a good news story then none of us would put the time and effort in that we do to make the world a better place, not just for ourselves and our kids, but for all of them.

So, what am I doing?  I'm doing the stuff that often doesn't get seen in the see of scars and the red assault on the eyeballs of the nation - I'm talking quietly and with purpose, the quietness is because this is personal, the purpose is to raise awareness in people who may never have heard of us before... not overtly fundraising (I'll come to that) but just the trickle feed of what life is like.

A lot of the time these quiet conversations do end up with donations down the line, but if they don't then as long as when they meet another one of the dickey ticker club or a mum or dad they remember something of what I said, and acts with a little more concern, then my job is done.

Which brings me to my overt fundraising activities for the year, and planning like a terrorist... GCHQ & NSA will be reading this as I'm also going to say I don't plan like a suicide bomber... What's the difference?  I plan my exit and return home in great detail - often the last night and trip back is booked long before anything else.

So this year I'm going to undertake four multi day walks, one each in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Simple logistics means I have to plan Scotland first, and tie it into my annual trip to the Fringe.  So the last night and the flights back to Manchester are booked.  I have 6 days to walk the Speyside Way and get to Aberdeen. 

Wales, could be a chunk of the stunning coastal path. I'm going to have a look this week:-)

Northern Ireland I'm not sure if its going to be my loved North Antrim Coast or something around the Mournes.

England, the plan was always to do St Cuthbert's Way after the Great North Run - why, because I've always liked the name, and I've always wanted to go to Holy Island (not because I'm religious, just cos it looks insane).

There will be other walks and challenges in the year, starting tomorrow with the Mad Dog 10k - the challenge being I've not run a lot in 3 months.  So I will be slow, but stubborn and proudly wearing my CHF top in the face of an inevitable gale! And yes I know how I'm getting home... its that planning thing ;-)




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