North East volunteer takes to the skies

Martin volunteers with our North East Family Support Team. Despite being scared of heights he signed up to do a wing walk for Rainbow Trust. We asked Martin why he took on such a challenge.

“Well, there are two answers to that question, the first being I must be mad – I’m scared of heights, I don’t particularly like flying and I get dizzy and feel sick on simple playground rides (not, of course, that I go on them ….). The second is I wanted to do something to raise money for Rainbow Trust. I have been volunteering for just over a year now and I help run a drop in session on the Paediatric Oncology Day Unit in the Outpatients of the Great North Children’s Hospital. We spend a few hours of the day doing art, crafts and anything fun we can to distract the kids and give their parents a little time while the kids are having chemotherapy, waiting for operations or simply waiting for their therapy review. This has helped me see first-hand how important the work Rainbow Trust does is.

Although it is virtually impossible not to be moved by the plight of the children, their families and the huge positive difference Rainbow Trust makes to them in life-changing circumstances, I generally consider myself as practical rather than emotional, so I decided to try and make a difference in a ‘practical’ way by taking action of a sort that would test my nerves and commitment. I decided to do a Wing Walk as a metaphor of the nightmare that the children and the families the Rainbow Trust support go though. Let me explain my thinking.

Your child has been a little off colour. You sense something is wrong but can’t quite put your finger on it so you take your child to your GP. After a few simple tests the GP sends you straight to the hospital for more detailed checks, but he cannot say what is wrong. You are now on a journey over which you have no control. You don’t fully understand what is happening but your fear levels are rising and you have to trust in the doctors to direct you, all the time trying to reassure your child that all will be OK even though they sense your fear.

Metaphorically you are strapped to the plane having to rely on doctors to take control and direct your journey, a journey that you cannot get off, and a journey you never thought you would have to take, all the time experiencing sickening fear and anxiety.

A scary analogy. However, throughout the journey Rainbow Trust is there to make a child laugh in the darkest times, distract them from the effects of the treatment they are having and help alleviate the pressure the parents feel.”

After his wing walk Martin said “The Wing Walk took me out of my comfort zone and challenged me whilst raising money and awareness for a great cause, afterwards I felt exhilarated with a little relief that I had survived and definitely happy I had taken the challenge on for Rainbow Trust.”

We think Martin is a true star.

We don’t expect everyone to go to this extreme but if you do fancy taking on a challenge visit our events page for inspiration.