Sunday, 28 March 2010

27.3.10 ~ Training

On Saturday (27.3.10) we decided to concentrate on distance, we left Falkirk around 13:10 and walked up towards Hallglen and Shieldhill where the plan was to proceed down through Brightons and Polmont but in Liz's true style we managed to differ from the planned route. Once we reached Shieldhill we headed up to and past California, taking a route that was unknown to us both, however that's the fun of walking, it was a beautiful day and we have got to get the miles under our belt!

Eventually in the distance we recognised Cockleroy (a hill that looks over Linlithgow) and realised how far out we'd actually walked. We soon arrived at Bowhouse roundabout near Muiravonside and took the road that takes us down through Maddiston but not before stopping for a refuel.

After a wee sandwich etc. we proceeded to walk down through Maddiston, Rumford and Brightons before arriving back in Falkirk where we walked past Callander Park and back to our start/finish point! A total of 14miles in 3hrs 50mins.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

West Highland Way Walk in memory of Steph Smith

Steph Thank you so much for taking the time to read this page. My name is Liz Smith and with the help of my work colleague and close friend, Michelle Cuthell, it is our intention to raise awareness of the disease called “Aspergillus” and hopefully raise money into the research of this awful and sometimes fatal disease. We aim to do this by walking “The West Highland Way” from 6th to 10th June, 2010. This is a 96 mile walk starting in Milngavie at Bearsden in Glasgow with the route taking us through Loch Lomond, over Rannoch Moor and finishing in Fort William. Our reason for taking on this challenge is in memory of my daughter Steph who tragically lost her life on 9th April, 2009 due to asthma and aspergillus.

Steph’s ambition, from a little girl, was to become a primary school teacher and she had strived so hard for four years for her B. Ed (Honours) Degree in Primary Teaching at Aberdeen University. A promising career which she was so suited and gifted to. She had been on her final three month placement in her former primary school in Nairn when she became unwell. At first it was thought that her symptoms were purely her asthma, and therefore this was what she was being treated for. However, on Tuesday, 31st. March, 2009, with her breathing causing her much distress, Steph was admitted to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness with a serious asthma attack and within a few days she was diagnosed as suffering from the disease known as ‘aspergillus’. This dreadful disease tragically got a hold of Steph and her immune system was unable to fight it off. The disease had become so aggressive even in that short space of time that it literally invaded her lungs and body, and antibiotics, specifically for this type of fungal infection, were ineffective in treating her.

Aspergillus is an illness, which until it touched our lives in April 2009, was unknown to us. Steph, was a beautiful young woman, in every sense of the word, both inside and out and who at the age of 21 had a tremendous life ahead of her. A vibrant, caring, thoughtful young woman with a zest for life. She was a healthy and active young woman who was an accomplished highland dancer and ballet dancer, being a former member of the Scottish Ballet Junior Associate Scheme and also a member of Ballet West. She was a Young Leader within the Girl Guides working towards her Queens Badge, a former Head Girl of Nairn Academy and as a member of the school’s Samba Band travelled to Latvia and also played clarinet in the Inverness Wind Orchestra. An extremely active young girl where the word “No” was never part of her vocabulary. She had a heart of gold, was so selfless and with her trademark ‘smile’ she was immensely popular among her peers and was everybody’s’ friend. A very mild asthmatic all her life but it was a condition which never hindered her in her activities in her all too short life. Such wonderful times lay ahead for her but tragically, just a couple of months away from graduating, she was struck down with this dreadful disease which cost her her life.

Our lives have changed beyond recognition following Steph’s untimely loss. We truly hope that through our efforts we can spare another person suffering as Steph did, and also save another family from having to go through the pain of losing someone they love to this cruel and distressing illness. A loss which goes beyond measure.

It was a tremendous privilege to be invited to attend a private Graduation Ceremony at Aberdeen University, on 7th July 2009, in Steph's honour,. where we were presented with her degree ~ B. Ed. Aegrotat Primary.