Courage and bravery are strange things. The blogosphere often covers heroic acts and sometimes questions acts that win medals. Sometimes actions are simply reckless disregard for safety, brought on by the red mist of rage and/or stupidity. Are they really brave? My father always said the bravest men he ever saw were the Sappers who walked slowly in front of the tanks on the first thrust of El Alamein clearing the mines, in the midst of a fearsome battle. Real bravery is knowing the peril and in cold blood ignoring it.
My thoughts are on courage today, not because of some military reason, but because of the most courageous bunch of people I am privileged to know. They are the mums of disabled children. It is every parents nightmare, after their baby is born, to be taken down to the room at the end of the corridor, tea and biscuits and the Registrar gently explaining what some words you have never heard of before mean. Every morning as the children grow up the mums have to face whatever problems the child has and do what they can. They watch other children playing and other mums laughing and their child canít join in and they want to cry inside. But they donít, they smile and work harder so their special child can enjoy life. It is a special type of courage to keep going every day, being brave and not giving up.
Twenty-five years ago in Devizes, my local town, a group of such mums got together and founded an Opportunity Centre. This charity has a purpose-built building with a team of specialist staff who help the children and the parents do the best they can. Some of the children go onto normal education and life, some only get so far and some arenít expected to become adults. And it is not only the children who are helped it is also the mums, getting together with others in the same situation keeps them sane and cheerful.
They are a great bunch.
So hereís the deal - On May 2nd 2004 there is a Neolithic Marathon from Avebury to Stonehenge. It is 26 miles across Wiltshire. I donít intend to run it but I will walk it, if I get some promises of some sponsors for the Opportunity Centre. Remember it is too far, Iím too fat and forty-two but I will give it a go. If you can help in however small a way, I will really appreciate it, and if you want to join me in the walk you would be very welcome.
The donate button on the right sidebar is for this appeal, but a promise or a word of encouragement would be great for now Ė and if you can spread the word, please do, letís show what Bloggers can do!