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Pam Raises Awareness on the London Loop Walk

london-loop-publicityx200On one of my Sunday walks I noticed the London Loop symbol in Crane Park and on returning home looked it up on the Internet to find it was a route of interconnecting pathways spanning 150 miles around London. Liking a challenge I decided to walk the whole of the route on consecutive days to raise awareness of fibromyalgia. So on August 28th I set out on the first part of my walk.

 The experience has certainly made me aware of each of the travel companies around London, the woodlands and open spaces within the Greater London area, sometimes tucked away between housing estates or narrow avenues along canals and rivers. It has also allowed me to experience nagging pain, due to my knee complaining on the last 2 days, and how it can override all other thoughts.  However I did find when I had to concentrate on where I was going I managed to forget about it for a while!

There were times when I found I met people as if it were meant to be.  On several occasions I met someone who had never heard of fibromyalgia and thought that either they or someone they knew may have FM and be undiagnosed.  These were chance encounters on the train, in the woods whilst asking for a photograph and at the shopping centres.

 The fact that I was obviously dressed for attention made it easier to strike up conversations, but it is amazing that these chance encounters may have changed someone else’s life.  I must wear my awareness wristband and fleece as often as possible now, so people will ask.  Perhaps I will have to keep a few leaflets in my bag wherever I go!  I don’t think I can wear that dress every day though.

The first day of my walk went well, 11 ½ miles with an awareness break in The George in Bexley. Patsy Baker, who joined me for the awareness in Bexley as well as many others throughout the fortnight, and I met some very interested people in a lovely atmosphere.  The chance encounter here was with a man starting a centre for people with chronic conditions to become fitter and more active.

The beginning of the walk was by the side of the Thames estuary starting in Erith and walking along the earth embankment for much of the way, with the Dartford Bridge clearly visible in the distance. It was a varied walk going through industrial areas to start and then alongside the River Cray through parkland and woodlands and through Crayford and Bexley to arrive in Sidcup.

Day 2 started with a paddle through a puddle at the underpass so I started with wet feet, but it helped cool down the blisters from day 1.  Most of the day was through woodland and parkland and I saw a tiny field mouse on the path... that I thought was a snail at first it was so small.  Right on cue the downpour arrived at the awareness venue and Patsy and I took cover in the car.  It didn’t last too long and I was able to continue in the dry, but it meant very little custom.  However I did meet with two medical professionals who were interested in finding out more.

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