Tuesday 20 March 2012

Making it official

There is nothing worse than being in limbo. It's difficult to say to someone you have Epilepsy, if you have a suspected diagnoses, or if you have been offered a new job, but haven't done the last little bit such as references or other checks.

It felt like limbo a lot for me recently. I had a conditional offer for something, but it was so mind blowing and special to me, I was sure there was something that would go wrong with the security checks I had run against me. Even though I have never been in trouble with the police in my whole life - not even a rowdy house party as a teenager!

But it's amazing to say officially now, as of yesterday at 7:30am I am a Torchbearer for the London 2012 Olympics. I will carry the Olympic flame on the penultimate day of the 70 day torch relay in London.

The reason for those of you who aren't regular blog readers or even don't know much about the flame, that it is so incredible, so humbling and such a privilege to be carrying it, is to do with what the flame itself symbolises.
For me, sport changed my life for the better, I studied the sociology of sport at university, it allowed me to raise awareness of Epilepsy and it has been a sanctuary and a community for me. The Olympic movement is the poster child for all that is good about sport, it's motto encourages people to go faster, higher and stronger, but it's the Olympic flame which is the strongest symbol of the good sport can achieve.
The Olympic flame is what calls on athletes across the world to lay down arms and come and compete in the Games. It is not only a symbol of sport but also of peace.

The strongest emotions I had, when I received the official confirmation I would carry the Olympic flame, was just an incredible sense of privilege, it was hugely humbling.
I felt that because the reason I completed the Race Across America, which was a large part of my nomination, was because I had the inspiration of friends that had Epilepsy spurring me on.
I know so many truly inspirational people with Epilepsy and I can't help thinking "why me"?

I was so glad that I wouldn't be alone and found many individuals with Epilepsy who will carry the torch too, including my friend Alex, whose story I look forward to telling you in the not to distant future...

Unfortunately, due to the public purse, sponsorship is a huge thing for London 2012 and they are very strict on people wearing charity bands or corporate logos when running the relay.
I will however be wearing my Medic Alert band as a safety precaution which I wear on my right hand, most likely the same side I will carry the torch on as I'm right handed.

All I can say is this.

My medical band is purple - the colour of Epilepsy awareness.

I haven't met anyone with Epilepsy yet who hasn't inspired me in some way and I want to feel I can have a symbol of that inspiration with me, when I carry the Olympic Torch.
That inspiration will be my purple medical band I will be wearing which says: "KATHARINE FORD, DoB 04/04/86, EPILEPSY".

- I will be proud to wear it on the day and don't feel in any way ashamed to be wearing something that has my name and my condition next to it, I just hope I can represent everyone with Epilepsy well.

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