It was January 2014 when my mother, Andrea Waterston, complained of some severe back pain. Next followed the devastating news that is was in fact terminal Melanoma, skin cancer. At the end of March that same year, just two months after initial diagnosis, my mother passed away aged 64. Previous to her diagnosis my mother was my father’s carer for 5 years as he battled Parkinson’s and Dementia. It then fell to me to take on this caring role following my mother’s passing, along with an amazing support network of medical staff, carers, friends, family and my girlfriend, Hannah who had been with me from the start of my mother’s diagnosis. I had not envisaged caring for my father in my mid 20s however being able to spend quality time with him brought us closer and with it happy memories to cherish.
In September 2016 my father, William Waterston, passed away peacefully aged 67 after his battle with Parkinson's and Dementia. It was completely devastating, our small, happy family of 3 was shattered, all in what seemed a whirlwind of time. The months that followed brought out lots of different emotions such as guilt, anger and sadness for losing my loving parents. However, as I begun to be more positive, I begun to look forward. Along with Hannah we asked what can we do to help others and what challenge can we undertake to raise money for those charities that helped myself and my parents?
Mum was born and raised in Canada, whilst my Dad was born and raised in St Andrews, Scotland. It was therefore appropriate to come up with a challenge that would incorporate both countries, pushing the physical and mental boundaries. Myself and Hannah sat down and thought it seemed appropriate to do something that involved endurance and adventure with a purpose. My parents loved the outdoors and adventure and would regularly be found up in the hills. After lots of ideas we came up with something…
Our plan is to cycle the width of Canada (6500km in 36 days), and then fly immediately back home and run across Scotland (280km in 7 days). We will be starting the cycle in Tofino on Vancouver Island and heading across to Halifax in Nova Scotia covering roughly 175km a day. Tofino is one of the places where my mother’s ashes are scattered. This stunning coastal setting was one of her favorite places and where she spent many happy family holidays. Halifax is on the far East Coast of Canada and is where our dogs come from, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers!
We will then jump on a direct flight from Halifax to Glasgow and head up to the West Coast of Scotland. From there we will start running from the spot near Arisaig where my parents and grandparent’s ashes are scattered and make our way across some of the most breathtaking parts of Scotland to St Andrews in Fife where my father was brought up. The run will consist of roughly a marathon a day for 7 days.
Throughout both my parent’s illnesses I received a huge amount of support from charities who make living with these conditions, or caring for loved ones with these conditions, slightly more bearable.
We received a lot of amazing support from numerous charities but in the end we decided to support, St Columba’s Hospice, Alzheimer Scotland and MacMillan Cancer Support.