Editor’s note: The lead story to this follow-up with background information can be accessed here.
It was the first day in 10 days the sun had shone and it was the last day of the walk. As I felt the warmth on my face, I had my son, Dylan by my side, with friends and family waiting to cheer me over the finish line. All of a sudden there was a feeling and realization of what I had achieved. I was about to complete 100 miles of walking over 10 days. The flat, sore feet and tight thighs did not matter in this moment as I was about to break a personal record and finish a task I had set myself.
Along the journey I had different walking volunteers each day. This gave some variety to the challenge and kept me entertained. It also gave me time to catch up with old friends, make new ones and create some wonderful memories with family. During one of the days, early on we stopped to chat to a lady because we needed directions. The conversation turned to explaining how and why I was doing the walk. It turned out the lady’s elderly mother’s sight had started to deteriorate. She mentioned that she was seeing figures in the kitchen and things crawling in the living room. I explained it could very well be she is experiencing Charles Bonnet Syndrome. I shared with her a flyer I had printed and told her to visit the website for more information. Just that experience alone helped spur me on because it just proved there is a need to create awareness of the condition because you don’t know who out there will need support.
Each day I chose a different nature-filled area of Greater Manchester. I originally wanted to walk from Exeter to Land’s End but unfortunately due to the pandemic and staycations we were unable to get accommodation, as the prices were ridiculous, or they wanted a minimum of five nights stay. So, I thought being a proud Mancunian I would stay in my neck of the woods, and I am glad I did as it was a lot flatter, and I had a lot more variety with volunteers.
As we crossed the finish line Dylan holding my hand tight, the crowd cheering and singing from all directions, I started to feel emotional. Someone wrapped a finish line flag around me and I began to join in the cheers jumping up and down with exhilaration. I had done it! I was overwhelmed with the support and generosity of people around me and the public. We so far managed to raise £3850 beating my target of £3000. We have also had great publicity during and after the walk. BBC radio Manchester interviewed me on the breakfast show, Manchester Evening News and I love MCR wrote a story piece, and I am going to be on Granada tonight as a feature piece. They also had a small piece on the Sunday 22nd August show, covering me walking over the finish line and a short interview. All of the media coverage has been a great way to share awareness of the CBS condition, hopefully reaching people out there who maybe experiencing hallucinations themselves and unsure what it is or where to go. It may also be a loved one that may not know where to turn that hears the piece. If it reaches only one person and it changes their lives than those 100 miles were worth every step.