As breast cancer awareness month begins, we asked contributor Emily Bell to write a little about The Moon Walk – a breast cancer fundraising 26 mile walk she took part in back in 2008…
It all started with 13 women power walking the New York marathon in their bras. And now one night a year, over 15,000 men and women get their kit off to walk a marathon through the night around London, taking a stand against breast cancer.
One in eight of us women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in our lives – and you boys aren’t immune either – so after my aunt died of breast cancer, my mother was diagnosed and my siblings and I realized we were high risk, I decided to start doing adventures as a way of fundraising; and it all started with the Moon Walk.
The Moon Walk is exactly what it says on the tin, but don’t be fooled, it is a lot harder than you might think. The novelty of wearing a big pink fluffy bra, once the pouring rain sets in, quickly wears off.
Walking 26 miles also takes a very long time – I repeat, a very long time. As a runner, I just wanted to get going and finish the race, but walking obviously slows it down and highlights how cold and tired you are. You also have to pay attention because the roads aren’t closed so you spend a lot of time waiting at traffic lights and talking to people coming out of clubs having a very different night from you! Don’t underestimate a long walk; it is not just a ‘walk in the park’.
Despite all of this, the race is incredibly emotional. Standing in a room with thousands of bra-clad people, while some share their stories, is incredibly moving; especially once you’ve been walking for eight hours in the dark and pouring rain. Reaching the finish line, where my mother, who is now healthy and well due to successful treatment, was waiting, was an amazing moment. Because of advances in medicine, you have a much better chance of surviving. And these advances don’t happen on their own: fund-raising is imperative. So get your kit off and get walking, because you will make a difference.