At first glance it may just look like a happy dog flying through the air, but this photo tells a much more important story.
In 2015 I was given this special little dog by Hearing Dogs for Deaf People after losing most of my hearing suddenly. His name is Rusty and he is trained to alert me to everyday sounds and to raise awareness of my invisible disability when out in public. He encouraged me to get fit, and gave me the confidence to turn up (alone) at Brentwood parkrun just over a year ago – not an easy thing to do when you can’t hear properly.
I suffer from a neurological condition where my immune system randomly attacks nerves in my head. It’s called vasculitis. This has caused my hearing loss, and many painful head and neck pains, not to mention random bouts of pins and needles and numbness. Keeping fit and healthy is an important way to manage the condition.
Two months ago, the condition caused me to have a sub arachnoid haemorrhage, which left me on strict bed rest in a specialist neurological unit. I was lucky in that the bleed was small and started to heal quickly, and have now begun the recovery process, but I am not allowed to run for at least the next four months.
I am determined to volunteer as much as possible during this time so that I can keep in routine, and stay in touch with my parkrun friends. On Saturday a couple of weeks ago Rusty and I stood in the freezing cold marshalling. That may not be most people’s idea of fun, but I had the best morning in the most beautiful surroundings and I am just so pleased the parkrun model allows me to still be part of this movement, despite the fact I can’t ‘run’ for a while.
As you can see, Rusty just loved volunteering too and this photo shows the joy it brings – he carried this bottle around with him most of the morning – a new high-viz hero role?! Don’t worry, he stayed on his short lead whilst the runners went past.
Our parkrun community includes many families who enjoy bonding while being active. Even for those who come to parkrun alone, the people you see each week often feel like family. parkrunners celebrate happy occasions with each other, provide support for one another during tough times and band together to support local initiatives in the parks…
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