Why I WALK IT: A walk in the garden

22 July 2020

Maria got redeployed within the NHS to work from home due to her risk level and quickly found herself becoming less active than before. Fortunately, My WALK IT helped Maria rediscover fitness and she is now set to complete 187+ laps of her garden for Crohn's & Colitis UK.

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, I received a number of letters and phone calls from many places (including the hospital, the government, and my GP) and it really made me realise how clinically vulnerable I am. That was quite alarming.

I decided to take on the 5k challenge because I realised that I was starting to become inactive whilst working from home. A couple of years ago I learnt how important being active can be for physical and mental health, as I completed Couch to 5k with the amazing CDF runners in Cardiff. This meant that I knew what I had to do to fight off depression, anxiety and help settle the Crohn's stomach discomfort.

Due to my risk, I am shiedling and will be undertaking My WALK IT in the garden and expect to do 187 laps to cover the 5k! Whilst out there, I usually phone friends and catch up with people and enjoy the break from sitting down all day.

Shielding has been very challenging but I’m lucky that I’ve got such a good support network that stick by me because of who I am, whether I’m chirpy on a good day or grouchy on a 'Crohn's-y' one. This is refelcted on my JustGiving page where, despite the current financial situation that many people currently face, I've received oodles of donations from all over the place; England, Scotland, Wales and even Australia.

Generosity and kindness have shone through and every single person who reads my story raises awareness.

I don't mind talking about life with Crohn’s, but I avoid leading with it as I don’t want to be “Crohn’s girl” or “Maria with Crohn’s”. I think that so many people are learning about this for the first time through me taking part in My WALK IT. My schooling actually ended quite abruptly due to illness and my diagnosis so lots of people didn’t know what had happened to me. Hopefully my story shows that you can still have fun and achieve a lot in life whilst living with Crohn's or Colitis. You just get that bit more grit and determination to get through. My WALK IT has led to many people reaching out to me. I’m flawed by and grateful for the amount of support by so many people.

The My WALK IT experience has been nothing but positive:

  • It’s driven me to be active
  • I’ve seen a benefit to my physical and mental health
  • My story has raised awareness
  • JustGiving has brought in vital funds to Crohn’s & Colitis UK

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