Thursday 8 January 2015

The Resting Place in 7

A few months ago now, I had made the decision that I didn't want to have my Olympic Torch sit in my own house doing nothing but serve my own vanity. So instead, I asked if it could live in Ward 7 of the Sick Children's Hospital, where I was treated as a young girl and where brain surgery changed my life.

Before Ward 7, I was having daily attacks of what I can only describe as the total opposite of the euphoria that I expect you would experience through drug highs. I don't actually know because I've never taken any, but I presume that would be how you would describe the opposite of non-specific, completely uncontrollable fear, coupled with unrecognisable de-ja-vu. To those that know, it's also Right Temporal Lobe Epilepsy.

Not only did the doctors change my life, but I was able to almost inadvertently, selfishly procure the most powerful inspiration I could ever have in my life. Witnessing the immense bravery and dignity that I have never seen anywhere else, before or since, except through patients I have come in to contact with in Ward 7. I don't like that I have taken so much from one incredible place and not been able to give a lot in return. The odd bit of press here and there for the Foundation, but nothing hugely significant in comparison to what I had taken from the place.

The fact that any strength to carry on during the toughest part of the Race Across America and the fact that I wouldn't even be able to take part in any bike race or even ride a bike, never mind take part in the world's toughest endurance event, without everyone in Ward 7, has left me with a very easy conclusion.
That the Olympic Torch of torchbearer 006 on the penultimate day of the relay, belongs in Ward 7 of the Royal Sick Children's Hospital.

The Sick Kids Foundation, has very kindly held the torch in trust, so that it could be placed in the ward. But when I heard what they had in mind to use it for, it was the most humbling message I had ever received in my life.
I was told by the CEO of the Foundation, that rather than the fish tank, they want to use it as the final milestone, for children re-learning to walk within the ward. I feel like the nurses and staff saying I'm an inspiration is very odd and I don't feel quite at home with the label. But I know the torch itself is incredibly inspiring as an object so, because I already have my inspiration in the memories I have from my time in the hospital and any time I have visited, I hope it can inspire the kids there now, after delivering it on Christmas Eve to the hospital.

The visit also reinforced my feeling of inspiration. A young girl the same kind of age as I was myself when I was in the ward, who was experiencing the most extreme amounts of pain, was so happy, upbeat and dignified, that quite frankly you wouldn't have known that she was in any pain at all. She joked about her brother, had a wonderful sense of humour and left me feeling even more clarified in my opinion, that the pain I am able to put myself in going up hills on a bicycle, in training or during a race, isn't a sacrifice at all. It's a privilege.

I hope the kids get to run around with the torch before it's put in it's box.

I guess it would make me incredibly happy to imagine it being used to do a mini relay around Ward 7 with the incredibly inspirational kids that visit there and are as brave and dignified as they are... making them feel like the torchbearers that their inspiration deserves.

...even if they did drop it once or twice!