Michelle had a bone marrow transplant in St. James’ Hospital, Dublin and wanted to show her appreciation to all those who saved her life and to help others going through a bone marrow transplant. During her year in hospital and when in sterile isolation she would dream of being out in nature, walking and breathing in the fresh air.
As she relayed her story she had this to say:
“I was really delighted to give back to an amazing charity dedicated to saving lives and improving outcomes for bone marrow transplant recipients, and to raise funds for the Bone Marrow For Leukaemia Trust is beyond a privilege.
The need to give back to those who made it possible to return to my family is so strong and was the reason for taking part in a 4 day, 85km section of the Camino walk from Santiago de Compostela. I would like to give a big shout out to Naomi Ryder Kilroy for coming on this journey with me and leaving her family for 5 days.
I totally understand the sacrifice you made and I will always remember it Naomi! She wanted to honour the memory of her grandfather, William, who died of Leukaemia. I was hoping the trip would be what I imagined, a spiritual, mindful, cathartic, part of the healing process. Sure, if the worst came to the worst there was a man with a van and I wouldn’t be afraid to hop in!
There were plenty more questions and doubts about this trip. It seemed like such a good idea a few months before going. I’ll be fine by April I had said to myself! The truth was I wasn’t so sure. Only a week before it had seemed it was not to be, but circumstances were made clearer and I got the go ahead. However the questions and doubts remained: I’ve never walked 20km in a day! I get tired just travelling. Am I healthy enough? Have I got the strength? Will Aidan (her husband) and the kids be ok while I’m away? Am I bloody mad? Aidan and the kids did just fine when I was in hospital – they could manage for a few days!
But it’s not a race, it’s a walk (or a stroll!) spaced over the entire day, peppered with plenty of breaks and rests, laughs and nice food. For example, on one of the amazing days we walked from Redondela to Pontevedra. This meant walking through hills, forests and vineyards, and resting in a beautiful cafe. We met some truly amazing ladies on the way and the time flew. We managed to walk 24.5km and miraculously not a blister in sight! The journey should have been 18km but we took the scenic route and looked forward to putting up our feet that evening!
I’ve had plenty of time to recover and let everything sink in after finishing The Camino for the Bone Marrow For Leukaemia Trust fundraiser. It was an amazing and beautiful experience. It took a lot out of me – left me totally exhausted, but worth the effort and I’m proud that I could do it. I’d like to send a huge thank you to everyone who donated to the cause. We raised over €4,000! All funds raised go directly to this great cause and again many thanks for all your support!
Michelle Beatty & Naomi Ryder.
P.S. Donating bone marrow is also an amazing way to help those in need”