Pudsey daughter’s challenge: Why I’m doing The Moonwalk for mum

MOON WALKERS: Sisters Harriet, Alice and Phoebe Dale.

ALICE Dale is taking on the Full Moon – 26.2-mile – walking challenge at The MoonWalk this year. Alice, 28, is taking part with her two sisters, to mark five years since their mum Samantha died from cancer.

The event is run by breast cancer charity Walk the Walk, organisers of The MoonWalk, when thousands of women and men wearing brightly decorated bras walk marathons through the streets of London at midnight on Saturday 18 May. Here’s Alice’s story:

“I’m taking on the Full Moon (26.2 miles) at this year’s MoonWalk London with my sisters, to mark five years since our wonderful mum Samantha died from cancer. She completed three MoonWalks herself in the years before she was diagnosed. Signing up for an event which she loved so much seems like the perfect thing to do in her memory.

“Mum’s three MoonWalks were between 2010 and 2012 – two in London and one in Scotland. She originally signed up because she was looking for a challenge. I was only 15 when she did her first event and I remember that she’d started walking with her friends in the evenings. The MoonWalk was a chance for her to do something different and push herself a little further.

“When I look back on that time, cancer felt like something which was quite removed from our family. We didn’t know anyone who was going through cancer treatment and we were just very proud that mum was doing something amazing to help other people. Then – out of the blue – mum was diagnosed with cancer herself in 2013.

“She’d discovered a lump on her chest right under her bra. It was annoying her, so she went to the doctor’s, only to be assured that everything was fine. But it wasn’t. She went back and pushed for further tests and was finally told that the lump was indeed cancerous. 

“The original cancer had actually developed in her uterus, but by the time she was diagnosed, the cancer had already spread to her lungs – hence the lump on mum’s chest. I was only 18 at and just about to head off to university, my eldest sister Harriet was 20 and my younger sister Phoebe just 15.

“I remember thinking how strange it was that our family was suddenly one of those being helped by cancer charities. 

“We were now in the same position as the people who mum had helped previously.

“Mum went through a lot of treatment, including a hysterectomy, various rounds of chemotherapy, as well as a few new therapies. There were periods when she was relatively well and she was able to enjoy holidays with our dad. It was a very up and down time.

“We were blessed to have her for another six years, but ultimately the secondary cancer in her lungs couldn’t be eradicated and she passed away in 2019, aged just 54. For most of those six years, Mum was able to carry on her job as an IVF scientist.  At her funeral, one of her work colleagues told us that mum had been responsible for the birth of around 600 babies, which was just incredible. 

“My sisters Harriet and Phoebe mean everything to me – I don’t know what I’d have done without them since we lost our mum. We’ve helped each other get through some very hard times. 

“To honour mum’s memory, we decided that we’d like to raise some money for charity. Taking part in The MoonWalk London 2024 is just perfect – not only will we be raising money to give something back, but we know that The MoonWalk is so much a part of her. It feels like we’ll be walking in her footsteps. We’ll be thinking of her as we walk, imagining how she may have felt at certain points along the route. 

“Completing the Full Moon is going to be a real challenge for us, even though myself and my sisters all try to do different things to keep fit. 

“Our dad has done a lot of marathon challenges and told us that if you’re three quarters prepared, the atmosphere will take you the last quarter! I must admit that I’m a mixture of excited and frightened, but can’t wait to take part in such an iconic event. 

“On the night, we’re planning to wear decorated bras, just like mum did – I remember she had an Arabian Nights themed bra, an animal one and one which simply had lots of pink! Mum’s friends have already sent me lots of pictures of her taking part in The MoonWalk, which has been lovely. Wonderful memories.

“Such an incredible night will obviously be tinged with sadness for us. I feel very strongly that mum shouldn’t just have been assured that everything was fine when she first went to the doctor’s. 

“They should at least have done a biopsy. Unfortunately, when a medical expert tells you that everything is fine, that’s what you believe. I’d encourage everyone in the same position as we were to push for a second opinion.

“Mum may no longer be with us, but on 18 May, my sisters and I will be hugely proud to honour her memory as a family.”

The challenge runs at midnight, Saturday, 18 May 2024, starting from Clapham Common. Sign up now at www.walkthewalk.org.

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