Thank you for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.
I was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer in September last year, less than a month after I turned twenty-two. It has made me think about what I will leave behind – and what good I will send ahead.
When my health is at its worst my universe shrinks, so I am always grateful when it expands again and I can take an interest in others. Shortly after my diagnosis my dad suggested I walk to raise money for charity. After three rounds of chemo and several months off treatment, my health is worsening and I will soon need more treatment. It feels like the right moment for this long-planned walk!
I love walking, although my experience of it has changed. An oxygen device sometimes helps me to walk further than I otherwise could. I have a very stylish walking stick (named Gerald) who occasionally gets outings. I remember surprising my doctor with my first independent walk down a hospital corridor.
I always found it difficult choosing between charities so am planning three walks in places of special significance for three dear causes (watch this space!).
I hope to retrace a route that I often took to clear my head during my university days – from my former college to the banks of the River Cam, which I once rowed on. There is something in us that finds peace in the sight and sound of water lapping, perhaps a distant memory of that first garden and a yearning for the ones to come.
I often had to pray on-the-go during our packed terms. Occasionally I would lay my prayer mat down upon soft grass in parks (weather-permitting), otherwise between rarely-used book stacks in libraries, pausing to try to remember the bigger picture. I used more established places of worship when I could too – the student prayer room, a church hall that opened its doors to us on Fridays, and the mosque.
I would sometimes walk there from my college at dusk to catch one of the congregational prayers. During exam term it was a favourite break. It is a small, unassuming building but one that many frequent daily. There, as in other pockets of Cambridge, town meets gown and I was reminded of life beyond, as well as above, academia.
The Muslim community in Cambridge nurtured my faith, quenching both my intellectual and spiritual thirst. They have long-outgrown the small mosque I sometimes prayed in. I look forward to the day when this beautifully designed eco-mosque opens as a hub for people of all faiths.
Now for the small-print…
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