A health shock for her husband turned Dawn Fletcher's life on its head – now the 49-year-old nurse from Anglesey says she's 'rediscovered who I am'.
I used to love walking and climbed Snowdonia's mountains and walking long stretches of Anglesey's coastal path on my own. But just over two years ago my partner was told he needed a liver transplant to live and our world changed. I just stopped walking as I became a carer and hospital companion. We were so fortunate in that Andy didn't have to wait long for a transplant and in November 2015 it happened. It hasn't been plain sailing for Andy, but he is a remarkable person and very soon was able to get back to a normal life, despite health set backs and hospital visits. I couldn't. I felt lost and unmotivated, nothing seemed to make me happy any more. In addition I'd lost my fitness, put on weight and my self confidence was rock bottom.
Then I saw the #walk1000miles challenge on Facebook and bought Country Walking Magazine. I remember thinking "I can do this" but the first time I put my boots back on and had a pre challenge walk of 2 miles I was out of breath and shattered. It was a shock.
Gradually the fitness improved and the distances I could walk increased. Walks alone gave me time to reflect, time to switch off from the negativity and fear, and tune into the beautiful world around me. When a couple of old friends got back in touch to ask if I wanted to Walk Offas Dyke next year I said "Yes". I would never have had the confidence nine months ago. Getting out walking can be tough, but the 1000 mile goal and seeing the amazing achievements of others in the community keeps me going.
This challenge is helping me rediscover who I am. Im not the same me as before but thats absolutely fine. I am happier, content with who I am and more motivated. Of course I’m also much fitter. There are so many people with amazing and inspiring stories in this group. I love seeing other places that people are walking in and reading about the meet ups. It's a great source of information and motivation. And I'm really looking forward to the future now. That would have been difficult to say a year ago.