Today is one of my scheduled days off from walking on my trip across the country from coast to coast.
My journey has been stunning so far – beautiful weather, with amazing views as I walked across the Lake District. But it’s been hot, I’ve been carrying an 18kg pack, and as well as the 86 miles (138 km) I’ve done across the country, I’ve also walked up more than 11,500 ft (3,500 m), with a similar amount down too.
My legs and body have been aching just a little(!), and have a tendency to cramp up a bit in the evenings.
Having a day off gives my muscles a chance to repair themselves – and thankfully my recovery seems to be pretty quick – but when I reflected on this I realised that this is where Jett, who I’m raising money for, isn’t so lucky.
Jett suffers from Becker muscular dystrophy, a genetic condition which means his muscles don’t repair themselves.
When most people do exercise, their bodies naturally create a protein (dystrophin) to fix the frayed end of the muscles, but Jett’s body is missing the genetic coding to make this protein and fix them.
He has a small amount of dystrophin, but not enough, so when he exercises his muscles they stay damaged and become scarred… meaning that over time they weaken more and more and eventually will be unable to support him.
It’s amazing how much we take for granted in our bodies. There are so many processes that automatically fix themselves. It’s only when it doesn’t work that we realise how lucky we are.
Take a moment to reflect on all those things that are happening in your body without you noticing it. Isn’t it fantastic how well it works without a single conscious thought?
I’m sure you have some challenges of your own – but don’t let them obscure all the things that are working well.
Enjoy the feeling that comes as you feel gratitude for how well you work… and see what new insight or inspiration comes through.
If you’d like to support Jett…
Right now there’s not been enough research into Muscular Dystrophy to know fully what’s going on with Jett or the 70,000 other adults and children suffering with it around the UK, but some progress is being made.
The Jett Pack, who I’m raising funds for, is a family charity, which means that some of the funds go to Jett, to support him as his body weakens, and the rest goes to Muscular Dystrophy UK to support research into treatments, and hopefully, one day, a cure.
I’ve known Jett since he was 3. He’s now 9 and has such a spark about him – loving life and passionate about so many things – the last conversation I had with him was about the many different routes from York to Ripon, followed by dancing to Iron Maiden (his favourite band!).
If you’d like to find out more or even sponsor me and support Jett, you can do so here.