I'll start with a quick introduction, my name is Natalie and I was diagnosed with MND in 2016 at the age of 29. I had no physical symptoms, so to say my diagnosis was a shock is a huge understatement!
During the first couple of years I remained strong. When my balance deteriorated and the falls increased, I completely lost all confidence. After swallowing my pride, I knew to stay safe I needed to use a wheelchair.
In late 2018 I met Alex. I was in awe! This incredible man was out there raising awareness of MND whilst suffering himself. He went on to complete physical challenges that even the ablest bodied person would struggle with. He appeared totally fearless and his determination to achieve gave me the kick up the bottom I desperately needed!
I eagerly wanted to be a part of Challenging MND so when the opportunity arose to Pedalo The River Chelmer I jumped at it (figuratively speaking).
Pardon the cliché, but that day on the river really will be a day I treasure forever! From start to finish I had crowds of friends and family supporting me as pedal by pedal we completed the 14 miles!
Before the challenge began I honestly had no idea if I'd physically be able to complete it or not. Unable to even walk a step unaided was obviously playing on my mind, but I believed there was still power in those legs of mine! Having Alex by myside and my team behind me fuelled my determination to succeed.
I'm not going to lie, after 6 hours it was getting tough, but there was no way I was going to stop!
I was literally following the sunshine along the river the whole day and as we approached Heybridge Basin it began to set. It was in that beautiful moment that the emotions hit me!
I'd done it!!
For the first time in a long time I felt proud of myself. I'd completed my challenge and knew with the money I'd raised I'd be helping to fund someone else's memory of a lifetime!
I can't thank Challenging MND enough for the phenomenal experience they gave me, a memory that will forever bring a momentous feeling to my soul & smile to my face!