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Gail shares what it's like to be a MoonWalk Volunteer

"If by giving up one or two nights sleep a year, I can help others raise funds for Walk the Walk, then it’s worth it."

I’m an insurance broker from Liverpool. I first heard about Walk the Walk from my boss Caroline. She had already done two MoonWalk events when she contacted me and the rest of her circle of friends from the waiting room of her oncologist’s office in March 2013. Caroline had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and asked us if we would join her at The MoonWalk London 2014. When your friend asks you something like that, you always say ‘of course’, not really understanding what we were letting ourselves in for!

Caroline’s surgery was supposed to be a simple lumpectomy, but it turned into a seven-hour mastectomy as they found a second growth. Sixteen of us walked with Caroline in 2014 under the team name ‘The Bay Titty Strollers’. Caroline has just had her five-year mammogram and is in good health.

After completing The MoonWalk in 2014, I hung up my walking shoes. I had completed The MoonWalk to support Caz, but I was determined to support the cause beyond that first year.

I started volunteering in 2016, and donned a yellow t-shirt for the London event - I came down on Saturday afternoon and took the train home on Sunday lunchtime after completing an overnight shift - the train cost £20 odd and I didn’t need a hotel.

Last year saw me don an orange Team Leaders t-shirt, volunteering in the Baggage Tent. I also took on the challenge of volunteering at The MoonWalk Scotland- where I ran the baggage tent overnight, guiding walkers around the ‘jungle swamp’ (nothing to do with the Jungle Safari theme!) that appeared due to heavy rain in the lead up to the event.

2018 saw me return to The MoonWalk London and I’ll be headed to The MoonWalk Scotland on 9th June.

I love the Baggage Tent as you see all the Walkers head on out at the start of the event and get to congratulate them on their way back in. Babysitting thousands of bags does sound easy (they generally don’t misbehave) but having checked my Fitbit over the last MoonWalk, I did walk almost a Half Moon distance (13.1 miles) over the three shifts! You need to be fairly organised to work in the Baggage Tent to make sure all bags are ready to be returned to Walkers promptly after they complete their walk.

I love volunteering (as it means I don’t need to walk again!) and because I am doing my bit to help The MoonWalk events take place. If by giving up one or two nights sleep a year, I can help others raise funds for Walk the Walk, then it’s worth it.

The atmosphere is amazing at the event, all the Walkers love showing off their decorated bras, and everyone is there for a common cause. The friendships that exist become closer as people help their friends/family across the line, although I have had the odd sniffle when I see people walking ‘for’ not ‘with’ someone.

My best moments are watching people in tears at the realisation of what they’ve done. I always send them off with ‘I’ll see you in the morning’ - many of the walkers don’t realise I actually will be there! If I can get their bag ready for them before they get to me, or get someone to run it out to them before they arrive at the store (walkers being numbered, we only give back a matching number to what they are wearing!) they are so grateful that they don’t have to walk further.

My best memory from Scotland was watching sunrise over Arthur’s Seat. At The MoonWalk London, I loved being able to ask a lady if I could take a picture of her nipples - she had about 15 of them dangling from her hat - Aussie style!

After returning from The MoonWalk London a few weeks ago, I’ve found a lump in my breast. The doctor thinks it looks like a benign cyst, but I’ve been referred for an ultrasound. Awareness of checking my breasts and generating funding for research and support is invaluable for people up and down the country. That’s why I’ll keep volunteering- no one knows who it will affect next - friends, sisters, one of the men in our lives, or ourselves. We may all benefit from the funds raised by Walk the Walk.

Gail - Walk the Walk Volunteer

Would you like to Volunteer?

There's still time to join our Volunteer Team for The MoonWalk Scotland... we'd love to have you! 

Or if you want to chat with someone about volunteering, give us a call on 01483 741430 or email.

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