Donna Hayward, a parishioner of St Mary’s Church Chepstow in South Wales, recently completed a 50-mile walk to raise funds for a charity that is very close to her heart – pancreatic cancer, which has impacted hard on her own family. Donna takes up the story…
“Walking 50 miles in one day was mentally the most challenging sporting event of my life. I did it for my mum who unfortunately was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August 2020. I wanted to give something to the charity to help further the early diagnosis of this horrendous cancer.
This is a particular nasty disease which is difficult to be diagnosed in its early stages and therefore can gain a hold before anyone realises. It’s been an extremely difficult time for all of us and it’s not until it happens that you realise the amount of upset and sadness that it can bring to a family. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
We all remain hopeful and have amazing friends and family who have supported us throughout this journey. I raised £5,500 which has been absolutely amazing.
I’ve completed five half marathons and one full marathon but walking 17 hours without sitting down in the freezing cold wind and rain was absolutely gruelling. The ground was heavy and flooded in areas within the Wye Valley which made it seem even tougher.
However, we got through with so much support from friends and family along the way.
My husband David joined for the last 20 miles. I took a turn for the worse in the last two miles but managed to put my endurance head on and with encouragement from David and company I managed to pull it out of the bag!
After the walk I was absolutely exhausted so I’m definitely going to hang up the boots until next year when I need to think about my next challenge, which will be in aid of St David’s Hospice.
Picture: Donna Hayward.