As daffodils spring up all across the country, they provide a sign of hope; a burst of colour and light after the dark winter months, reassuring us that spring is here and the warmer summer months will soon be upon us.
These flowers also represent hope to people living with terminal illness, and their families. Daffodils are the symbol of our charity partner, Marie Curie, that seeks to bring light in the darkest hours, offering expert care, guidance and support to help terminally ill people, and their families, get the most from the time they have left.
When Luke was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2014, he spent 10 days in hospital alongside people with brain cancer. Here, he saw first-hand the amazing work of the Marie Curie nurses in helping both the patients, and their loved ones, to enjoy the last of their time together.
After waking up from five hours of life threatening, but ultimately life saving, brain surgery, Luke was told the mass in his brain was instead an extremely rare cyst, and not a brain tumour as had been originally suspected. He had been given another chance. Very much humbled by his time in hospital he focused on raising as much money as possible to support the Marie Curie nurses.
Starting with Luke's Due South: Antarctica expedition, and then in further joint challenges (such as the 250 mile Cape Wrath Ultra), we have both raised over £85,000 to date for this wonderful charity. When you think that £20 will pay for one hour of a Marie Curie nurse's time, that's over 4000 hours of dedicated time, when people and their families need it most. We are so grateful for your generosity to date and so proud of how many lives you have helped.
"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less" - Marie Curie
We feel very lucky to have Marie Curie as a partner on these expeditions and challenges; it really helps us with the motivation to keep going when things get tough. Having met some of the nurses, patients and volunteers, and listened to their empowering and tender stories, we are honoured to raise money for this fantastic charity. Thinking of their stories helps us to dig deep and keep going, giving us that motivation to succeed.
Daffodils to desert
Although Spring has settled in Edinburgh, it is quite different to the balmy 40oC or so we expect to encounter during the gruelling Marathon des Sables later this week. We fly to Morocco on Friday and start our 156 mile race through the Sahara desert on Sunday. You'll be able to track us via this link so tune in to see our little dots moving amongst the sand dunes from the comfort of your sofa and have a nice cold glass of water for us!
It doesn't stop there though...a week after finishing our beach holiday to Morocco, we will be running the London Marathon (in fancy dress...watch this space) and then getting a little bit of rest before Due North: Alaska starts on the 11th May.
We'll have live tracking for Due North: Alaska from www.duenorthalaska.com and will be regularly updating social media throughout the expedition. We're really looking forward to sharing these adventures with you all!
Hazel and Luke
ps. If you'd like make a donation, Luke and Hazel's JustGiving site can be found here. Any amount will make such a difference. Thank you.
Due North: Alaska is proud to be supported by:
Floradix | TentMeals | Freeze Pro Shop | Ashmei | C. Wilson Meloncelli - Flow State Training| GoalZero | NIGOR | EXPED | LaSportiva | Osprey | PETZL | Julbo | ORTLEIB | OPTIMUS | Bio-synergy | Celtic Paddles | GSI Outdoors | Nuffield Health | Standard Horizon | Katadyn | HydroPak | Reed | GoNorth | |Sockeye Cycle Co. | Black Bear Inn | Rose Point | Buff