Written By Katy Mann @yetanothermumblog
Eight years ago this month, I lost my three month old son Charlie to Meningitis. October has always been a tough time for me mentally as I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) but now I find it even harder to get through the days, as I battle with my grief. For me, Autumn conjures up memories of depth and despair. No more sitting outside in the sunshine, evenings with the children having water fights are long gone. The cold and grey days accompanied by dark evenings, all add to the depression I already suffer with.
This year I decided to make a change. To take a positive step and take charge of my mental health. I wanted a challenge. Something that was fun and would keep my mind off what was to come in the next month. I also made the decision to combine it with some fundraising in my son’s name for Meningitis Now who gave us great support after his death.
I asked around and got some great ideas. One friend suggested a challenge called “Walk A Day In My Shoes” where I would wear a pair of borrowed shoes and take a picture, which I would then upload to my social media accounts. I’ve had everything from golf shoes to flippers! I'm disabled and in a wheelchair due to severe epilepsy, so the idea being, that as I can’t walk myself, I would be somebody else for the day. Another friend suggested I sing a song a day. I’m well known by my friends for my lack of singing ability, so of course the requests for raps, rock songs and any tune I could murder came flooding in! I decided to link the shoe to the song, so for example I wore football boots and did the John Barnes rap! It has been lots of fun but most importantly people are contributing to a cause that is really important to me and my family.
Being disabled means I’m not able to do a big marathon or climb a mountain, like most people would do for a big sponsored challenge. It limits me but I’ve made the best of what I’ve got and it’s been a huge success so far.
Since Charlie died, our family and friends have been busy fundraising over the years and we raised just over £37,500. In the past three weeks we have raised another £1,100 with my challenge. I intend to carry on for 30 days in total and then finish with a group song on the anniversary of his death. We want to involve as many people as possible to bring awareness of meningitis and of course, much needed funds for the charity. More details are on my social media pages if you would like to get involved.
It’s been really important for me mentally, to feel that I’m contributing to his cause and bring myself out of the depression I find myself in this time of year. Several friends have shared a meme which states “the trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let things go” but that couldn’t be further from the truth for me. Autumn is about loss,about death. I needed to make it about something more positive and what better way to do that than by raising money in memory of Charlie. Even if it means making a complete fool out of myself!
To read more about my fundraising efforts see my blog www.yetanothermumblog.blogspot.co.uk or follow my Instagram page Yet Another Mum Blog or Facebook page Yet Another Mum Blog You can donate to Charlie's fund here and help us reach our goal of 40,000.