02/07/16: Town 21:00- July the 2nd arrives along with a predictable helping of rain showers more befitting April.
In the morning, the rain pours down from darkened skies and I watch from my room as I paint my nails in shocking pink.
In the afternoon, the rain tumbles from heavy clouds and I watch from my room as I apply sparkling flowers and shiny star stickers to my gloriously shocking pink nails.
In the early evening, the rain bounces off the grey pavement and I smile a bright pink smile, heart full of excitement, as I grab my coat to go. No rainfall will take the shine from today.
And then it stops.
We arrive at the event, me, my cousin and her very best friend. We work our way through a series of stations; collecting our sparkle walk t-shirts and flashing pink bunny ears, completing our forms and attaching our registration numbers.
We head off towards the warm up area where to my great surprise and immense gratitude, there in the midst of the fuchsia confusion, I find my three parents picking their way through the crowd to find me, the biggest, warmest of smiles lighting their excited faces, ready to wave we three off on our journey into this special night.
and then it is time…
Ten, nine, eight…the crowd around me chants…my mums and my dad watching from the sidelines, cheering me on and I wonder for a second whether like me, they have some sense of the importance of this moment in our lives…seven, six, five, four…and my heart throbs in my chest…three, two…
I march forward, out into the night my cousin and her very best friend at my side.
I march forward, striding out into the night and fireworks light up the inky sky.
I march forward, stepping out into my future past stilt walkers and fire eaters, buskers and dance troops and we clap and whoop for them and they clap and cheer for us.
I march forward following the faces of loved ones, lost but not forgotten, as they proudly and defiantly adorn the backs of the t-shirts moving before me. It is a humbling experience. At once, an event linking the past, the present and the future.
A memorial. A vigil. And for some, perhaps, a kind of future proofing.
And I know that this walk is significant for me, far more so than I could ever have imagined. I can almost hear the heavy door of treatment closing behind me as I move within this sea of flashing, sparkling pink as it snakes its way along the bypass, down the slip road and under the bridge of my hometown.
It is a truly incredible sight to behold as I turn to photograph those that follow behind me.
I feel all lit up inside, effervescent, I am fizzing with delight, sparkling on my sparkle walk, inside and out.
I imagine that I can begin to close this chapter, that a new one is waiting to open up for me and I’m excited and hopeful and feeling so very, very fortunate.
In loving support my family, friends and neighbours raised a massive £1000 to continue the valuable work of our local hospice. I will be forever in absolute awe of their kindness and generosity.