back in 2014 i decided to climb everest and attempt to raise money for tct, teenage cancer trust.
one of our ways we chose to raise money was to do an abseil from newport transporter bridge, and i had never organised anything of this nature before, and we arranged it on st davids day, as mentioned before the day that moose passed away those years ago.
the organisation of the abseil went well, and with the help of sixty plus abseilers who all raised money, and a shed load of bigmoose friends and helpers we turned up to the bridge on moose day, as we call it, really pleased that the weather conditions were perfect.
i had abseiled myself to test the ropes the day before, and it had been quite blowy, but as we pulled up to the bridge and got out of our cars the sun rose, in a way that it hadn't for a complete season.
spring was shining, and was it just me being romantic, and thinking that the big man had supplied us with a most beautiful morning, i don't know, but i remember smiling as i looked at how wonderful this steel fabrication looked bathed in the early morning glow of the sun.
the first two of the day to abseil were tania and chloe, and as they lowered themselves over the edge of the 177ft bridge, i looked in awe as they inched toward the waiting throng below, and we cheered and encouraged enthusiastically.
once on terra firma i hugged them both, took the obligatory celebratory pictures, and then headed back to the bridge and focused on the next two victims, i mean abseilers.
the event felt like a party, with everybody turning up excited, some nervous, and some downright petrified, but every person who committed to take part turned up, raised their money, with my mate wellsie just beating out doogie to be the highest fundraiser with fourteen grand raised.
wellsie knows some minted characters in london town, and they sponsored him royally, and we will always be grateful, cheers wellsie.
as the abseilers headed toward the harness station, i became aware of a very petite young girl wearing a woolie hat, and what looked like her family around her.
"are you here to abseil?" i smiled as i asked.
"no, we're here to support our friends who are abseiling", the obvious mum of the family offered.
"this is emily, she is on the teenage cancer ward, and we are her family, and this is the first day she has been outside for some time."
donna, emily's mum was a lovely smiley, selfless lady, and her family were all delightful, and the thought of emily having cancer at such a young age made me feel, as a parent how awful it must be to have your child diagnosed with this awful disease, and thinking about the possibility of losing your child was too much for me to cope with.
emily's friends from school were abseiling on her behalf, and as i met them i could see they cared very much for their friend.
after the abseil, emily, donna and my family grew closer, and chloe became friends with emily, which was lovely to watch, and when we did our black tie event, "elevation" emily honoured us by speaking on stage about her situation, her trials and tribulations as a teenager with cancer, and the room loved her, and she got a deserved ovation.
after this event, the girls kept in touch, and one day donna mentioned to me she wanted to do something out of the ordinary as a challenge for herself, and after some cajoling she agreed, having never run before, to do the cardiff half marathon, and with no help from me she signed up, and started running religiously with some of her friends.
part of my cajoling donna into doing the run, was based on saying that i would run it with her, but come the day of the race she was totally on track with her friends, so i ran with another bigmooser nadine, who was another first time half marathoner, and we ran together for almost ten miles before we came across donna and one of her friends running in a way that i knew she would finish the race, but she was starting to tire a little, so nadine ran ahead, and i ran with donna which was great for me, as we chatted, and i knew i would see donna finish the race.
as we got to the last couple of miles i could see she was starting to tire even more, and the last hill before the finish had a number of people walking up it, so i mentioned to donna that if she ran it she could always tell people she ran her first half marathon, and never walked a step, and this was enough to see her push on towards the finish line and show her mettle.
as she crossed the line her family were there to greet her, and i was really proud of her grit and determination.
this spirit was on show in abundance in emily, and as she was set to have a bone marrow transplant chloe and i sat in the hospital with her, and i for one was truly amazed at her spirit, and if you ever met emily this was apparent immediately.
the transplant had complications, and emily had many trips to and from hospital, and in between bouts of illness she attended university, arranged various fundraisers, and was pivotal in encouraging people to register to give bone marrow, such was her resolve, and whilst on her journey she created remission possible https://remissionpossible.org.uk/ which i would love you to have a look at.
emily was a lovely young woman with such a bright future, and when chloe and i went to see her on our most recent visit, she was back in the tct ward in the heath hospital, and looked tired, though she still had her sense of humour as we entered her room wearing the mandatory face masks, and looking medical and daft all in one.
when i saw her then i didn't realise it would be the last time i saw her, and as i read the text from donna telling me that she had passed away last saturday, i didn't want to believe it, and in a way i still don't, and i think i am stopping thinking about it as i really don't want to believe it.
this lovely bright, brave, enthusiastic young woman has left us, and everyone who met her will miss her i feel sure, and as i type this i am still refusing to accept that i will never see her again.
i asked donna if she would be ok with me writing my blog to remember her, and she could proof read it first, but donna said to go ahead and that she didn't need to check anything, and i am very proud to have her trust at this very difficult time, and as such i will add in that donna and her family are going to continue emily's legacy and aim to build a new purpose built bone marrow transplant unit, which will be the only one in wales, so i am sure bigmoose will get involved in helping in some way, so please watch this space, but for now here is a justgiving page as they start to build their dream.
all that is left for me to say is that to emily's family we will miss her so much and i am so proud to have known her, and as the bigmoose idea of living is all about leaving the world better than you found it, emily has certainly done that.
and as i write this blog donna has text me saying that she has found a prayer book that emily wrote, and that she prayed for me to return safely from everest, and now i am starting to believe i will never see her again.
emily, rest in peace, your life though short, made more impact than most will ever do, and we will miss you very, very much.