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  • Writer's pictureSamson's Mum

The things we do for love - World's fastest and Europe's longest zipline

Months and months ago, I thought it would be a good idea to sign up for to fly down a line at over 100mph for charity.

I then changed my mind.

I'd set up a fundraising page, raised over and above the £200 fundraising target, then went silent about taking part.

I was so incredibly frightened, I couldn't' cope with the thought of facing my absolute, primal fear, of heights, and also water. You see, the zipline is 500 feet above a quarry in Wales. It's a stunning place to be, but for me it presented absolute dread. The 500feet was above a big blue lake, 400 feet deep.

It wasn't until I had signed up to take part in the event that I realised I would have to be suspended over the water.

That is what put me off, I couldn't cope with it.

The night before the Zipine event (May 4th!) a couple of us stayed in the most wonderful caravan park (Ogwen Bank) and had the loveliest time. I cooked 3 x Feast Box curries from scratch and was so completely proud of my achievement. We could see the wonderful Snowdonia mountains from our caravan, but could also see the zip.

On the day, we arrived and the actual enormity of the event hit very very hard. It was gigantic. We could barely make out the beginning of the zipline up in the mountains. Every few minutes, there was the sound of a jet roaring as 4 more zippers came down the 1555m line at over 100mph. I re-confirmed to the guys that there was absolutely no way I could do that.

And that was that.

We entered the prep area and started to meet our amazing zippers. There were 15 people from the Duchenne community, men, women, Duchenne Mums, Duchenne Dads, aunts, uncles, friends, supporters, and of course, the people they were doing all this for, their young people with Duchenne.

Something clicked.

As I was chatting to each of our wonderful people, I realised I had come so far in the last 3.5 years, I have been up against the very worst a person could be up against. I could lose this utter devastating, paralysing fear and I could do this.

So I did.

I changed my mind, signed in, got my wrist band, and joined the amazing zipline team for the briefing, weight in (eek) and got kitted up. We were set off on the little Zipper, which was a little 'practise' run, and relatively gentle. I sang 'Your song' to myself to take my mind off what was happening, and it was actually quite a nice experience. I chose the left hand side of the 4 lines so I was as far away as possible from the water.

At the end of the little zipper, we were taken in the red truck all the way up and up and up. I sat on the bus with one of our gorgeous Duchenne Mums and we chatted about our boys, life, the challenges Duchenne brings and making the most of things. It powered me even more to do this. Thinking of Samson, Rosie and Leo and how I wanted to make them so proud.

Once we reached the top (385m above sea level) the view was immense, over to the sea, across to the mountains and down to the quarry. I glanced, but couldn't actually take in the view as I was doing my best not to be sick.

In the starting area, they ask you to lay on the 'bed' then they strap you up, double check and make sure you are all secure. At this point, I was singing to myself again but couldn't actually breathe so was mouthing and whispering the words to try to focus. I looked out across the zip and it was so so high, so far and scary. They counted down, 'ready, 3, 2, 1' and as the numbers descended, I zoned out, relaxed every single muscle in my body, closed my eyes and put myself somewhere else.

'GO' ... The feeling of racing down the line at over 100 mph is pretty incredible. It takes your breath away and is extremely exhilarating. All the way down, I was calm, relaxed and peaceful. It was very strange, to be able to dive so deep into a place of calm to avoid the petrifying here and now.

Over the water, I kept my mind squarely away from the expanse of azure blue below me. And then as suddenly as it started, we were at the end.

What an achievement! The first four of us waited to welcome and cheer on the rest of the team, and they were all amazing. So many of the 15 were raring to do it again! It made us all feel so alive and so so proud.

I think I was the only person in the team who didn't really like it! Although I've already promised to do it again next year (and keep my eyes open all the way next time!!!). It just shows, you can be a squishy, cuddly, Mum who likes their feet on solid ground, but you can still fly like a bird and face your fears. This girl could, and she did.

Thank you to every single person who took part, to all the supporters and families for making it possible. Thank you to the amazing Sam Turner and Helen Keenan for executing the most superbly organised event. And to my wonderful travel buddy and lovely friend Helen Royle who was there for me and helped me get over my fears.

Check out our family fundraising page for Action Duchenne and where you can donate, thank you.

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