May 31st 2016 was a very normal, cloudy Tuesday morning for me, I was enjoying a menu tasting for an event that was to come in a few months, but a couple of hours later I was at the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham with the rest of my ex's family, as we waited for news as to whether his sister had survived surgery after a sudden and potentially catastrophic brain haemorrhage.
Michelle was 52 at the time, and a specialist nurse managing the burns outreach team at the City Hospital, Nottingham. Tuesday had started off normally enough for her as well, husband working on their new life in Jersey, her daughter Bethany getting ready for another interview and her teenage son David doing what all teenagers do, sleeping.
At approximately 8:30am Michelle was struck by an intense headache causing her to collapse whilst in the bathroom at work. Time had passed and her colleagues came looking. They were to find her collapsed having suffered from a massive aneurysm. The type of aneurysm Michelle suffered from was an AVM, (Arteriovenous malformation) an abnormal cluster of blood vessels in the brain. There are no known preventatives and no warnings. AVMs are congenital, meaning that Michelle was born with this time-bomb and they often remain undetected up until the point at which they rupture.
The next few days, weeks and months were a blur of visits to intensive care, high dependency wards and Linden Lodge, the neuro-rehabilitation unit at Nottingham’s City Hospital where Michelle stayed until April 2017 as she began her journey to recovery. She has received, and continues to receive, physiotherapy and speech and language therapy and I was blown away by the care and attention that the teams have given to Michelle during her time in their care.
During times like this it is common for people to feel rather impotent about the ways in which they can help and although Rob and I are no longer together, I still want to give back to these truly amazing people.
I have decided to do something in a small way to try and give something back to the people who are looking after Michelle and to ensure that the vital work that they carry out is there for people in the future. There will unfortunately be more people like Michelle who will find themselves in need of the care and attention of the neurosciences team at Nottingham Hospitals.
I wanted to do something BIG and yet I am well aware that if I tried to run a half marathon or marathon the strain I would put on the NHS would far outweigh any fundraising efforts I could make for them! And so I have decided to up my 10km game and sign up for 10x10kms throughout 2017.
I have been dabbling with running on and off for a few years and have done two or three in a year but never anything like this before. I am not a brilliant runner, I am a plodder but I am determined and I have seen enormous amounts of determination from Michelle and her family over the past nine months which can only serve to inspire me as I don my trainers, set my Garmin and head off for a trot around the block.
If you wanted to follow my training progress you can hop over to Instagram (@Shippers1983) where I have set up my very own hashtag #Shippers10x10 to document my efforts and I will make sure I post regular updates for you to laugh along with throughout the year. . I know it’s not a big marathon or anything like that, but if you do feel you want to dig into your pockets remember that this isn’t just one race you’ll be donating to – it’s 10. 10 whole races for the price of 1 – I’m offering you a bargain here!