Oh dear! Yes your eyes haven’t gone wonky, that’s me walking through the streets of York dressed in a fluffy pink onsie, accompanied by a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and a life-sized ladybug – oh, and my Dad, dressed as himself going to bed!
It might look like a bizarre Flint family outing (minus my sister who couldn’t make it) but we are actually walking for a special cause. On Sunday we joined more than 300 people to traipse around the city in the sweltering sunshine to raise awareness and much-needed funds for Crohn’s and Colitis UK.
It was a boiling hot day as we walked 8KM along the banks of the river, and it didn’t take us long to be sweating heavily and deeply regretting the onsies. My kids-size monkey onsie may have been a cheap Primark bargain, but was obviously designed for winter, with thick fluffy lining totally unsuitable for the baking hot sunshine. It was the farthest I’ve walked since my recent completion protectomy operation and I was flagging by 5KM, forced to unzip my top and walk with my smiling monkey hood grinning out from my backside like a weird bum face. But I did feel proud when I’d finished. Even though I’ve started running again, walking 8KM was a massive achievement especially with the heat and added excitement of dressing up. I was exhausted afterwards. My ostomy output went funny due to dehydration, which was obviously something only dairy free ice cream could solve!!!
We may have looked odd, exhausted and far too hot, but boy did we have fun. It was amazing to see so many people giving up their time to raise awareness for an illness which has totally destroyed and transformed my life. It was hard to tell which of the participants were ill and which were friends, family, doctors, health professionals and general supporters, which I guess just shows how invisible an illness IBD is, and, thus, how hard it is for non-sufferers to understand.
And we did come second in the fancy dress competition – so I guess almost passing out was worthwhile.
If you are reading this for the first time and don’t understand IBD (Crohn’s and Colitis) please visit Crohns&ColitisUK to learn more about the disease and how you can help.