Friday, July 24, 2009

I did it!

Carrying on from my last entry......
On July 5th 2009 I took part in a charity event for The MS Society of Great Britain. This involved abseiling 30m down the main entrance building of King’s College Hospital, London.

As organised as I’d been about everything during the preceding months, the day of the event saw me in a flat panic once I started to get kitted up in my hotel room, ready for the long trek from Central London to Camberwell.
And the reason for this panic?

This was because I suddenly discovered that I’d left my official orange MS Society tee-shirt at home in my airing cupboard, along with half my other clothes (these I’d already noticed as missing and replaced by making a slight detour on the journey to London by stopping off at NEXT on a retail park- just off the M4 at Newport ).
“What to do?” thought I, because the only other tops I had with me were either evening wear or strappy vests. My thoughts turned immediately to staff who work at MS National Centre and who live in London, so I rang my boss at an ungodly hour for a Sunday to inquire if anyone could spare one.
Within an hour and a half, she herself arrived at my hotel carrying her own orange tee shirt for me to wear for the occasion. Within minutes, we got in the car and proceeded to the venue.
Was I nervous? No.
Why? I can only guess that it was because I was so focused on the task in hand.

I’d been allotted the time slot of 1.30pm. After signing in (and signing my life away) at 1pm as instructed, I joined a group of people outside at the bottom of the building; people from other charities and some doing it just for fun.

I had a longer wait than anticipated so stood there with a few supporters until 3pm. We casually chatted as we watched others coming down the wall, some abseiling as if it were as easy as falling off a log, some looking a tad ungainly with their jolting-jerking-spinning, but most worrying was that one young woman injured her arm as she went over the top and lost control, bashing into the brickwork on her way down.

Now, was I nervous after witnessing that? No. Why? Again, a matter of being focused.
Finally, just before 3pm it was my turn to go. As I stood at the top of the building with its spectacular panorama of the whole of London, a view so clear that I could see the white arches of the new Wembley Stadium 30 miles in the distance, I leaned over the edge and smiled excitedly as I waved at Huw standing at the bottom with his camera.

Was I nervous ? Still.... no!

The next thing that happened was that an instructor attached the safety clip and rope to my harness and instructed me on how step backwards and go over the edge very, very slowly – which I did.

Was I scared at this point?!
After I’d gone over the edge it was merely a matter of me controlling the ropes with my hands in a smooth fashion, and I can assure you that it was the first time in my life with MS that I’ve ever managed anything so smoothly in a physical sense.

Before I knew it, I was standing at the bottom having my harness removed by one hunk of a guy, but were my eyes on him? No they weren’t, because I was grinning, smiling and waving madly at the friends and family who were with me.

Would I do it again? ‘Course I would - without any hesitation.
At the time of writing, sponsorship is continuing to trickle in and I’d hope that it’ll continue to do so until I reach my target figure of £2000.

In the meantime, my thanks go on behalf of the MS Community at large to all who’ve already sponsored me and for the curious HERE are the photos of the event.