“My nephew Fentonis nine-years-old and has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He and his sister Lacey are everything to me.
“Since Fenton was diagnosed with DMD he has been receiving support from Tŷ Hafan. Lacey goes too as she attends the Super Sibs group which she absolutely loves.
“I work as one of the legal secretaries for Agri Advisor in Newcastle Emlyn. It’s very varied work and includes the day-to-day running of the office and liaising with clients about anything from properties, to family issues. I am so proud to say that Agri Advisor have made Tŷ Hafan their charity of the year for 2022.
“Wherever I go and whatever I do, I try to tell people about Tŷ Hafan children’s hospice and what an amazing charity it is. But it was during lockdown last year that I decided to really challenge myself and do Tŷ Hafan’s Marathon in May.
“I received an email from Tŷ Hafan about Marathon in May and immediately I thought ‘that would be something interesting to do’. I decided I would walk the distance over the course of the month and started to blog and vlog about it on Instagram, where a lot of people started to follow me.
“I got so far into it but then started to worry that I wasn’t going to do enough steps within the month. So I suggested to my sister-in-law Thea, Fenton and Lacey’s mum, that I wanted to do Pen y Fan. So she said she’d do it with me, and then Lacey said she wanted to do it too as Fenton is her brother and she tries to do whatever she can for him.
“So we trained hard and on the day we got to the foot of the mountain by 7am. It was an awful day – windy and raining, but you know, we laughed all the way up.
“Before we set off we got talking to a man who climbs Pen y Fan every Saturday. He advised us to keep sweets in our pockets and to eat some at regular intervals to give us a sugar boost to keep us going.
“Later on and when we weren’t too far from the summit, he passed us, on his way down and he said to us: ‘I honestly thought you would turn around in this weather.’ And when we got to the top the weather was so awful we could not even see each other – it was like we were in a movie!
“But by the time we got to the bottom again, we were so hot, the mist had lifted and the sun had come out. We just sat with our feet in the river – and then we discovered that the man had left £10 for us for Tŷ Hafan in a café in the car park. To this day we don’t know who he is – we’ve been trying to find out ever since because we’d just like to say thank you for the advice and the money.
“Thea is a walker and Lacey is young, however I’ve got arthritis and chronic pain disease. I am still so proud of myself for climbing Pen y Fan for Tŷ Hafan to this day.
“To complete the distance for Marathon in May – 26.2 miles or 55,374 steps throughout the month of May – I also did other walks every day around the Newcastle Emlyn area.
“I tried to get as much variety as that helped and I always wore my Tŷ Hafan T shirt which prompted a lot of people to ask me about Tŷ Hafan, what it does and why I support them. One lady even signed up for the Tŷ Hafan newsletter there and then.
“In May 2021 we were all still in lockdown due to Covid. Doing Marathon in May helped my mental health, as well as my physical health, massively as I was doing something good and was getting some fresh air. I raised £2,600 for the Tŷ Hafan and its work with children with life-limiting conditions in Wales which was brilliant, but the challenge gave me back so much too.
“Marathon in May is a great event because it is open to all abilities. I could never run a marathon, but I can do this. Plus it was so good for my mental health – and what with all the challenges we are facing now, I think that is so important for us all.
“It gave me a routine and it really challenged myself to do it. Knowing I was doing it for Tŷ Hafan and for Fenton spurred me on, knowing that he will need that ongoing interaction with Tŷ Hafan.
“A team of 17 from Agri Advisor will be climbing Mount Snowdon on May 7 for Tŷ Hafan and while I have been advised by my doctors not to attempt the climb, I will be doing as one of the support team.
“However I will be doing Marathon in May again next month because this is my event – I can do it and I love it. Fenton tells me that I am his amazing Aunty Ju-Ju!
“So to anyone reading this who is considering doing Marathon in May, I would say: ‘Do it! It’s mentally and physically amazing and you will be raising money for such a fantastic cause.”