Olympic torchbearing for Dysautonomia

As the Olympics draw ever closer, so the torchbearers are making their way around the country as we build up to the big event. Torchbearers have been nominated by others, often for their work raising money for charity, raising awareness, helping others and sometimes fighting conditions of their own.

Yesterday, Hannah Cassidy was one of the Olympic torchbearers in Wallasey, Merseyside. Hannah has spent the last couple of years raising money for her nephew, George, who is nearly two years old.  He has been hospitalised for most of his life and only got to go home recently.The doctors now suspect that George has Dysautonomia and that it is affecting his central nervous system. Not only has Hannah raised money to help her nephew, but she would also like to raise money for Great Ormond Street hospital as a thank-you for saving the life of young George. I hope she enjoyed her very well-deserved part of the relay team yesterday 🙂

When I searched for torchbearers with dysautonomia and autonomic dysfunction before the relay began, Hannah Cassidy was the only person I found in my search. But, not unlike dysautonomia itself, she was a less rare type of relayer than it first seemed…

Lucy Fellows has Postural OrthostaticTachycardia Syndrome (POTS, a form of dysautonomia) and also carried the torch on the 24th May in Ludlow, Shropshire. I saw her brilliant torchbearing on a You Tube link that a fellow dys’ patient had posted, and I cheered her on as I sat stranded on the sofa after my physio’. It must have taken a lot out of her to jog and walk as far as she did with the POTsy symptoms of near-fainting, nausea and more. Very admirable work there, Lucy, well done hon’, you were being cheered on by fellow dysautonomia patients around the world.

Huge hug and a big grin to both of these fabulous ladies, x

Olympic Torchbearers Relay, 2012

Today the Olympic torch started it’s journey from Lands End in Cornwall on the most South West tip of the UK. Many torchbearers will take their turn at carrying it a little further on it’s journey all around the country. All have been nominated for reasons of strength either in their own illness, or in selfless giving to a cause or community.

Here are three of the people bearing the torch today…

Kenneth Johnson will carry the torch through St Austell. He has raised lots of money for a project on MS after one of his children’s teachers had to give up work as a result of the condition.

Sophia Cowburn will be carrying the torch through Liskeard. At the young age of 18 she has not only had to cope with her twin brother’s suicide as a result of depression, but she has started a charity and been doing lots of fundraising as a result. All whilst studying for a degree and holding down two jobs, as well. She has been described as ‘a truly inspirational teenager’, and deservedly so.

Carrying the torch through Plymouth is Chris Theobold, who not only has ME, but is also a carer for his wife and a volunteer for the Association for Young People with ME.

All three torchbearers include a focus on sports either for fundraising or health reasons. I hope that everyone enjoys their experience today, and a big cheer to all those fabulously strong inspirational people that we each know all around the world.


Chinese New Year Celebrations

As the Chinese Year of the Dragon began on Monday the 23rd January, there was an event in my local town to celebrate. It’s organised by the local Chinese association every year and it’s been held in a different place each time I’ve been to see it.

The first year that I went along still rates as the best, for me. First-time atmosphere, getting out of the house is always good (woo-hoo!), plus I was attempting standing up for a while, pretending to be ‘normal’, hehe. And it happened to be on valentine’s day that year, so it was kinda romantic, too!

I love the atmosphere and the community vibe. It’s great to be a part of an event which brings all ages and cultures together. But my favourite bit is the Lion Dance. The skill shown by the local Kung Fu and Lion Dance team is amazing, and so fab’ to watch.

The Mayor paints the main lion’s eyes for luck, then the drum and firecrackers ‘wake’ the lion and the dance begins….Rawr! The noise of the lions and more firecrackers is to drive away evil and bring good luck for the new year.

A pic' from my first year of seeing this event

Then the dragon arrives and legs it round a few times!

There’s tradition behind all the action. At one point the lion clambers up a frame, trying to reach a tempting vegetable. (I know, lions eating veg’ is suspect, but it’s tradition)! Then, when he’s got the lettuce, (hurrah), he chomps it up and scatters some pieces to his left, then some to his right, then some to the middle…to scatter prosperity in all directions.

There are various musical presentations and dances, followed by the grand finale, which is a parade through town. I’ve never been able to stand up long enough to see it, but it would be cool if I could manage it one year as it’d probably be a chance to get some close-up piccies of the action.

The dragon starting the parade off into town.

Last year I had a lovely view of some scaffolding in the background!

Cropping the scaffolding out of last year's pic's!

And this year it was indoors, hurrah for warmth! The cold makes the CRPS pain so much worse. But it meant that only one lion could dance in an area slightly larger than the head of a pin! I love the big displays in the larger areas, personally. But it’s becoming a yearly tradition for my man and I, so if one lion dances in a shopping centre, we’re there.

Lion dancing in a tiny space for crowds watching from ground, 1st and 2nd floors!

And we may be warmer indoors, but hugging take-away coffees is now traditional, too!

T’other half has to work today, so we left early. Fortunately (?) it worked out beautifully coz I ended up feeling really faint and needed to leave early, anyway. So at least my health wasn’t dragging him away from the fun.

So here I am, at home, bed, laptop, no longer on the verge of passing out (wahey!), but still feeling weird (booo)! So I’m writing to youse instead of attempting anything on my ‘to do’ list. Now I think it’s time for tea and a biccie!

Kung Hei Fat Choi! Hope the year of the dragon is lucky for us all  😉