12 August 2014

SORRY :(

Hey Everyone,

Sorry I haven't written a blog in a very long time and i wish i had an excuse but i don't. I am so sorry for not keeping all you guys up to date and from now on i will get back in to the habit of writing a blog every month. When i came on to write this blog, i didn't realise how long it had been since i had posted something. It made me recognise how quick time goes by. I just hope that you can forgive me.

So, a lot has happened since February. Unfortunately i have the memory of a goldfish and can't remember much of last week let alone 6 months ago but i will try and work my brain for you guys.


Me and Callum
I guess the first thing to tell you all about is the Keswick to Barrow / Coniston to Barrow walk back in May. This year i did the Coniston to Barrow again and i walked it with my friend, Callum. The weather from what i remember was actually good for a change and we didn't get drenched :) However my knee started playing up this year which wasn't great because it kept doing spasms but everything was fine thanks to the support we had from the fabulous TEAM ALICE.  It was an amazing team yet again and although its late, I can't thank you enough. 
As me and Callum were doing the last mile on the walk, my uncle gary caught us up (he was doing the K2B and is the fastest walker I've ever known :D ). We all finished together which was really cool because a got to finish it with my uncle and one of my best friends. 
I would also like to thank every person who sponsored me, I have raised £4019 for Alice's charity because of your help. I have such incredible support from you all and i am so so grateful for that.  


Climbing Scafell Pike for COPS
A couple of weeks after that i climbed Scafell Pike in the dark for COPS a charity looking after police survivors. Everyone of Wainwrights peaks had a team climbing it and at 3am we all lit our beacons. It felt funny to have my head torch on again but at least I got to have Mabel and Lottie keep me warm :)

I had my biology and PE GCSEs in May and they were much harder then i thought. Its the first exams i have done that are actually serious and i know looking back now i could have revised more. The thing is I get distracted so easily and when i'm meant to be revising, i just want to be outside by the lake or on the mountains or with my friends. 
In less than 2 weeks i will be going back to school to be in Year 11 which is top of the school and i know how hard i have to work. Its ridiculous that i'm in year 11, i still feel and look like a year 7. 
Trip to Paris with Mum
Anyway enough talking about school. At the beginning of my summer holidays me and my mum went to Paris. My mum surprised me with a Segway tour so that we could see all the sites. It was so much fun ( a little scary ). I didn't realise how hard a Segway was to control and ride. Me and mum giggled for most of it. It was a good trip except most people we met were completely miserable and rude, which in a way made it a bad trip. It would of been much more enjoyable without the people being arrogant. 
I didn't realise how expensive Paris was and i just want to thank my mum so much for taking me there. 

Me, mum and dad also went camping in 'amazing' Cornwall. I loved this holiday so much, i actually learnt to surf with Big blue surf school .... properly. I spent everyday on the beach with my surfboard and i think i have the surfing bug now. I just always want to be improving my surfing, its a shame Cornwall's so far away because i'd be out on the waves everyday :(
Mabel and Lottie were also with us, so by the end off the week they were also in love with the beach and the ocean (swimming). 
Mabel & Lottie had a lovely time
Yummy food in Cornwall
We visited a place called Lanhydrock House, it's part of the national trust and we looked around the house, it was massive and so interesting to look at all the paintings. We went to Watergate Bay for a day, the beach was so clean and big. My dad actually lost his phone in the ocean there whilst "paddling" with the dogs :) To be honest it was quite amusing to watch him looking for it :) 
I didn't want to leave at all and i could quite happily move there now but i'd miss the mountains.

Recently it was the North Lonsdale Show where Alice's dog show was held and it was fantastic. I didn't think it would be so popular but it was. Mabel actually won the 'best trick' which was to pick up a balloon and return it to my mum without popping it. It was so funny to watch and i was very proud of her :D  

The charity is doing well and we still have great support from everyone around us. The caravans are busy and the families are enjoying there time here in the Lake District. I sometimes get to say 'Hi' to the people / families who come and it's so nice to meet them. Just to see the impact the holiday has on them and how they are having such a wonderful time really does show that spending time with the people you love, is more important than anything. 

It was Mabel's birthday today, she turned 4 and yes, she did get lots of toys and biscuits from us. It is also my birthday next week and im turning 16. Which is so crazy to think that next year i can start to learn to drive (which i cannot wait for). I am hoping to run a special bone marrow clinic, as i'm turning 16 i can officially go on the register and i am so happy about it. If you are 16-30 and aren't on the Bone Marrow Register yet, you really do need to get on it because you could potentially be saving a life JOIN HERE 

So again i want to apologise about not posting for such a long time, and i feel bad now that i haven't.

I love all you guys for supporting me and the charity. Thank you.

Promise to post next month,
Milly xx 













12 February 2014

February

Hey Everyone !!

Hope you are all good and you haven't come down with a cold. The weather is awful here and i really have decided that i am moving to a hot country when I'm older :)

It's official, the K2B training has all started and everyone is really determined this year to improve on their time. Let's hope the weather is better than last year, it was horrendous and i remember being wrapped in a tin foil blanket as i was walking over kirby moor, everyone was shivering. 
Some eager people started training after we got back from Kilimanjaro, back in October. I wish i could do that again, even though it was the hardest thing i have ever done, i did manage to enjoy it. Except summit day :)) but it still felt amazing that I'd ticked off such a huge thing.

There are lots of things that i was never expected to do because of my syndrome.
Crouzon Syndrome is a genetic disorder characterised by the premature fusion of certain skull bones. This prevents the skull from growing normally and affects the shape of the head and face. Anyway, my parents were told that I would never be totally normal, that I would always look a little bit different and that I probably wouldn't achieve half the things that I have. I always looked different to my friends and everyone else. It didn't really affect me. I have had many surgeries in my life to help my eyes, face and skull. The life changing one was when i had the red frame surgery. It is basically a frame that is screwed to your face and they broke my bones and then stretched them a bit every day.


                                        It was red nose day, so we attached red ears to my frame :)


After i had it, it gave me a load of confidence, I'm not going to lie and it made me feel normal but over the years i have thought that it shouldn't matter how you look, or the way you talk, or the way you smile or if you are disabled. You can achieve anything if you put your mind to it and i know this because like i said, the doctors never thought i would be totally independent. I never let it bother me but it feels good to have summited Kilimanjaro and be the youngest EVER to be included in the Queen's Birthday Honours, who would have thought that when i was 3 years old.  Even now, after my surgeries, i know my face isn't perfect. The red frame made my nose go wonky and i know my eyes will always be a bit bigger and i notice it everyday, but i try to not let it bother me and just live my life to the fullest because you only live once. I guess what I'm trying to say (after all this mumbling) is don't let anything stand in your way of living your life the way you want to and never give up on yourself. 

Anyway school is really hard at the moment and the work is so difficult because we have our exams coming up, more and more pressure is building up. I'm looking forward to easter because i think we are looking at going away some where hot (TANNNNN) for a short break!!  i am also really excited for summer because i am going to look for some work experience and hopefully august will be hot like last summer. I love (hot) summers because you can just chill with your friends and family and have BBQs. I love going down to windermere and going swimming or sailing with my friends. As much as i love snuggling in front of a fire with hot chocolate, i am definitely a summer girl (i would wear shorts all year round if i could hah). 

I know this blog has been quite a serious and probably boring one but i just really wanted to share my thoughts with you about having a disorder. I hope you all have a great Valentines Day and a pleasant month :) 

Milly x

12 January 2014

A year without Alice

So it's 2014. I can't believe that we're in a different year and that everything about Alice is last year. I wrote this for Alice's one year anniversary but after I sent it to the local newspaper for a special piece they were doing, I didn't want to publish it straight away and so it's late and I'm sorry.


"A Year without Alice"
Some days, it feels like yesterday that I last spoke to her - if I close my eyes and concentrate, I can hear her voice as if she was stood next to me.  Other days, it feels a long, long time ago.
And sometimes I miss her so badly that I feel my heart will break.
When I was little, Alice was very protective of me. If anyone upset me, they'd have Alice to deal with. If I threw a fit at something, she'd slide a little note under my door, desperate for me to be happy again. She hated people to be unhappy, she wanted to make the world smile. She'd transform our bathroom into "Alice's Spa" and invite me for bubble baths and massages and nails. And when it was stormy and I was frightened, she'd come into my room and climb into bed with me and watch movies to hide the noise. And then she got ill.
As she became sicker, I watched as she faced everything with a smile on her face. Every time it seemed like there was no more treatment, her and mum would go off and find a way. I never thought that she wouldn't get better. I grew taller than Alice and I sat on her bed watching movies with her. I painted her nails and rubbed her back and she told me how much she loved me and me her. And she asked me to make a difference and make my life count. So I'm trying.
We went skiing over Christmas and I think I did really well and by the middle of the week, I could ski back to the village with Mum. We stayed in a really nice hotel and me and Mum kept sneaking back from the slopes to go in the spa which was awesome. The only thing I regret is not trying snowboarding because I think I'd have enjoyed that even more.

For Alice's anniversary we stayed at the Coppermines Cottages in Coniston. They already support Alice's charity but when we were looking for somewhere to stay for her anniversary, Phil invited us to go and stay for the week and it was stunning. We had log fires every night and the dogs walked were exhausted from all the walking mum did with them.  On the 12th we went walking up Coniston Old Man and along to Wetherlam. It was snowy and really cold on the top but the view was beautiful and we opened a bottle of champagne (Mum loved this part of the walk) and we all had a drink for Alice. I wanted to be snowed in so that I could go walking every day and didn't have to go to school. But the school drivers picked me up from Coniston and they were really friendly (sometimes we have miserable drivers from Ulverston), so I got there every day!

This week I had my mock exams which were awful. I've done Biology theory and PE theory which are probably my worst subjects, but I have PE practical on Friday which is normally one of my favourites, except I have to do hockey which I don't play - doh! I also had a disastrous Spanish test - perhaps I shouldn't be doing two languages!
"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid" - Albert Einstein 
I'm still going to Oxfam on Saturdays and there's some really nice people volunteering with me. My job is usually sorting the clothes into piles and pricing them up, standing by a window looking out into the market square. I love fashion, so when I find any designer stuff it takes me even longer to sort them!

It's only 15 weeks until the K2B and I'm trying to keep my fitness going. As well as my mountain walking, I've been running and going to Zumba. I'm really nervous about keeping hold of Alice's Trophy. Last year I thought it was important to win it for Alice, but now that it is next year, it would really upset me to hand it back. So I need to fundraise and make sure we keep it! If you'd like to support me, any amount is REALLY appreciated and we cover all our own costs so the charity gets all of the money you donate - SPONSOR ME HERE

We haven't got any plans for summer. I'd love to go back to Vancouver and it's on Alice's list, but I'd like to visit Thailand too.  Mum and Dad are so indecisive that usually things are booked up when we eventually agree on something. I think that me and Mum will go camping in Cornwall again which was one of my best holidays last year and we can take the dogs too. When I'm older, I'd love a VW camper van in duck egg blue and I'd travel around doing festivals and go surfing in Cornwall with my friends.

I've been thinking a lot about my future. My best subjects are probably English and Art and I'm really interested in film, especially screenwriting. I find it super interesting how you turn a book into a movie and I feel that it would be something I'd enjoy. I have already been looking at colleges and have seen a few that look amazing. Mum will have to get more Labradors if I move out!

I hope everyone has a good month.
Lots of love,
Milly x



















12 December 2013

Last 12th of 2013

Hey Everyone,

Today is 11 months since Alice died and it is the last 12th in this year which in a way i find really sad. I miss her so so much. It feels as if time hasn't moved on, but the people and world around me has. Some people have been sending christmas cards saying stuff like " Have the best christmas ever" or "May this christmas be jolly", and i find it quite offensive that people are sending cards like that to me, mum and dad. They aren't thinking at all and i know they don't mean to be be offensive or sound disrespectful but it feels like that to me. I know this christmas is going to be the hardest christmas i've ever had and i'm not really looking forward to it. We are going skiing this year over Christmas, so on christmas day i will be on the slopes skiing, which is one of my favourite things to do, but Alice absolutely hated it with a passion, which makes us feel less guilty, as she wouldn't have wanted to come skiing. For our christmas dinner we are going to have pizza or something really un-Christmassy and the dogs will be happy cos Nan and Grandad are moving in to look after them while we're away :)

It's my sister's birthday this Sunday and me, mum, dad and the pups are going away somewhere we can walk with the dogs. I am going to take my running stuff and if i have the energy, go for runs with Mabel. Alice would have been 18 and we thought some of you might like to give a present to Alice and leave a message. What we have done is set up a just giving page where you can donate as much or as little money as you want to go to Rainbow Trust Charity, who have really being there for us.

I am now volunteering at Oxfam every Saturday and its been good so far and i have met some other people around my age that also volunteer there. I mainly help sort and tag the clothes but sometimes i go on the till. I'm not the biggest fan of the till, there are so many buttons to press for different things, it does confuse me most of the time.

This term at school has been so full on work wise, we have literally been working ridiculously hard and i have learnt so much. I have my 3 mocks after Christmas, PE Theory, PE practical and Biology. Out off all the subjects i do these 2 i find the hardest, except from the practical side of PE - i love that.
I am so scared about the actual exams though because i'm defiantly not the most academic kid in the school, i'm much more outdoorsy. In most lessons i look out the window and see the mountains on the other side of the lake and every time I look at them i think to myself 'I wish i was up there today, instead of being stuck inside'. I have so much homework, essays and revision to do for after Christmas, i really to remember to make time, which I always seem to forget.

My mum warned me before i went to Kili that you get addicted and i completely ignored this because i thought what a silly thing to say but now that i am back from Kili, I couldn't agree more. I can't wait for my next challenge and i'm excited to just climb a mountain again. I didn't think i would make it to the summit of Kilimanjaro at all but I did and i felt so amazing and on top of the world. One of Alices Escapes fundraisers, Steve who is very into climbing and trekking, bought me a book about all the mountains above 8000m and it is such an an incredible book with awesome pictures. It made me think a lot about what i want to achieve and believe it or not i have seriously been thinking about climbing Everest when i'm older, i think the feeling you would have if you reached the summit would be the most amazing and mind blowing feeling you could ever have - you are literally at the top of the world. But thats in the future i am not going to attempt climbing it now :) haha. Last week Steve got me an epic poster which was a picture of everest, K2 and all the massive mountains in Nepal and it is signed by some of the most amazing mountaineers.

I hope everyone has a merry christmas and a happy new year.
Bye For Now,

Milly x


12 November 2013

I made it!

Hi, such a lot has happened since I last blogged, but most of it was on a mountain!
It's ten months since Alice went and I miss her so much. I am desperate to tell her about my African trip and I can't, so I just hope that somehow she is watching me. This post is all about my Kili climb.

THURSDAY 17th October, I flew out to Africa to attempt to climb Kilimanjaro.
We flew from Heathrow to Doha and onto Dar es Salaam and finally into Kilimanjaro airport. We were shattered as the planes were a bit cramped, but excited too.
We had the FRIDAY afternoon to get our gear sorted and on the Saturday morning we were off.

SATURDAY
Today we spent most of the morning driving to and hanging around waiting to get our permits to climb Kili. We had a really horrible lunch of squashed banana and something unidentifiable and then set off trekking. Today we trekked up to 2,780 metres and it was really steep in parts but it felt quite good to be going. We reached camp about an hour before the sun set and got our tents sorted and then went for dinner. We were all really tired after dinner and after a team briefing, which we had to have outside in the cold, we went straight to bed. I slept as snug as a bug in my new Mountain Equipment sleeping bag :)

SUNDAY
Today we were trekking up to Shira Camp at 3,505 metres. It didn't sound that far but every time we gained a few hundred metres, there was always a big drop that we had to climb up again. Today was really hard work on my legs and we were stopping and starting right along the trail. We didn't get into camp until the sun was just about to set which made it really difficult to get the tent sorted. It was also really cold and everyone got their down jackets out!

Day 3 - Me and my Mum
MONDAY
It was freezing when we got up this morning but once the sun came up, it got warm quickly. We were trekking up to 4,000 metres today and other than the summit day and night, this was the longest day trekking. It was just up and up and up from the minute we set off and we didn't reach Lava Tower until about four in the afternoon. This was because my mum had to turn back down the mountain with Alice's friend, Sammi, who was sick and we all were sat around for quite a bit while they thought about what to do. In the end, another boy was going down with his dad so we felt a bit better that they weren't going to be alone. After they went, the rest of us were really sad and it wasn't a good day really. From the Lava Tower, it took us over two hours to get down to camp at Barranco which meant we arrived just as it was dark. So we had to sort our camping gear in the dark again and we were all miserable at tea and quite a few were feeling ill. Because my tent mate and my mum had gone down, I shared a tent with my Dad, which was good because he looked after me and got me a hot water bottle for in my sleeping bag :)
We went to bed just after eight and we all thought that my mum and Sammi would be in a hotel somewhere when in fact they were STILL on their way because the trekking company was useless.

TUESDAY
Climbing up the Barranco wall was awesome. This was the most enjoyable part of the climb and when we reached the top I felt pretty good and positive about the whole thing. We arrived at the next camp mid afternoon and there was another walk to help you with the altitude but I felt too sick to do it and so I went to my tent and had a rest. I dry shampooed my hair which is as good as it gets on Kili and then listened to my dad snoring LOL. Everyone was going downhill at dinner and we were all on various tablets to help with the altitude.

WEDNESDAY
Was really nervous when I woke up today because as well as the walk to the base camp, we were starting our summit attempt this evening. From the camp it was pretty much up hill all the way but the views were amazing. The actual mountain was a bit ugly at this point and there wasn't much to see. We were climbing up to 4,600 metres this morning and it wasn't as far as some of the other days but we were all feeling quite ill. I was really sick today and it made me nervous. We arrived at the base camp just before lunch and there was another walk that was about 2 hours and really steep just to help with the altitude again. They did lunch when we got back from the extra walk and then we went to rest but I don't think anyone got much sleep because everyone was nervous. Dad and me didn't go to dinner because the food was disgusting anyway and we had lots of Mars Bars and shortbread with us although I hadn't eaten all day anyway.

SUMMIT
We were woken 10 minutes before we were meant to leave at 11 o'clock which put us in a panic. It was so cold that even with all my layers on, I was still freezing. I had my down jacket on and my dad gave me his down jacket as well. I felt really sorry for him but he said he was fine. We were climbing 1,300 metres tonight up to 5,895 metres and it was the hardest thing I have ever done. I felt so nervous because it was so steep that after just an hour of it, I was a bit worried if I could do it. All of our group were sick in some way by now and even though I'd not eaten anything, my body still wanted me to be sick. The injections definitely helped but they didn't take it away and I had to really make my mind think about why I was doing this. I thought about Alice a lot while I was climbing and I thought about how proud my Mum would be of me too.

STILL CLIMBING INTO THURSDAY
After we'd been climbing for about six hours, we were going between normal conversation and mumbling silly things that didn't make sense. We stayed together all the way, sticking together as a little purple team. The air was getting thinner and it was getting harder and harder to lift my legs up and put my feet one in front of the other. If you've even been on one of those cross trainer things and tried to do so much that your legs are wobbly and you just can't control them, it was a bit like that. It was so cold that I just can't explain it. I had every inch of skin covered, thick layers and two down jackets, but I was still cold. With the windchill, it was minus 20. I've never experienced that before and definitely never walked through the night, up a mountain in it! We had amazing guides in our group. Hudson stayed with me and dad all the way up and he kept telling me that I could do it and giving me little pieces to achieve.  The sun started to come up and we were still climbing on a really steep bit and I have to be honest, my eyes were losing focus and I was desperate to go to sleep at that point. But then someone said it was really close and a doctor from another group had a look at me and asked if I felt I could continue and I said yes and he said well get yourself up there young lady, you've almost done it. And I don't know why but that gave me energy and helped me push that final bit. We laughed afterwards, because another of our group lost vision in one eye and it was only when it came back that she said, I just thought it was foggy on the mountain!
The glaciers seemed to be sliding down the mountain
When we saw the Stella point point sign come into view, I felt like I was running (I wasn't) and full of energy. My Dad said that Stella point was like one of the top points and I said that no, there's only one top and I was going there! So we carried on again, but I was moving so slowly at this point that if there was a particular bit of rock or something that stood out, it stayed next to me for about 5 minutes while I passed it LOL. After what felt like hours, but was probably only another one and a bit hours, there in front of us, was the TOP OF AFRICA, the Uhuru peak. I honestly couldn't believe that we'd made it, I felt amazing. There was quite a few other trekkers at the top, probably because we'd taken so long to get there, but we had photos and got the Alice's Escapes banner out for a photo with the rest of the team. Now that I'm home, I look at my photo and think why didn't I take the head torch off and do something with my hair. I look like a miner!

Steven, my Dad, me, Haley, Alex and Kathy reach the summit
Dad and I went and had a minute on our own and then left some of Alice on the mountain top like she wanted us to. That was quite hard to do, especially without mum been with us, but it was nice to be with the others and we all had a minute together, hugging and thinking about Alice.

I sent my mum a text message to tell her we'd made it and I didn't get her response straight away, but now I've looked at Alice's facebook pages I can see that she was just a bit pleased.
After 9 hours of climbing, you only get to spend a really short time at the summit because they make you start going back down again. It was really hard going back down and so steep that Hudson had hold of me to stop me falling. My legs were so tired but I just didn't care, I felt so happy that I'd done it. The summit night was the first night that I realised that all those months of training - climbing mountains, gym and running had made so much of a difference.
Breakfast was back at the base camp but no one really ate anything because we all felt so ill and then we had to walk for another few hours to get down to 4,000 metres and Millennium camp just after lunch time. We'd been climbing for 17 hours at that point! The porters were so happy that night, i think because they get there tips :) some of them were amazing dancers!

FRIDAY
We had to say goodbye to all the porters which was sad because you know they just have to do it again and again to stay alive. They don't have a choice really but they are such happy people. Everyone was really tired today and that was made worse by a long, long trek back down through a few different areas. It was just open to start with and then through lots of steep forest paths and finally down a track. My legs were killing me and I thought it was really tough walking down, especially after what we'd done. I expected my mum and Sammi at the gate but the trekking company hadn't collected them and so they didn't get there! Everyone just wanted to get back and wash and change, but we had to go for lunch and then back to the hotel. My mum was waiting for me and I had the nicest shower of my life! At night time, there was a celebratory dinner thing but one of Alice's old teachers who is a friend of ours was coming for dinner at the hotel and so Mum ate dinner with her and I joined them a bit later.

Mum and Sammi had an okay week too, even though they were disappointed. After we left them, they waited for SIX HOURS on the mountain for a truck to meet them and then it sounded like it was a bit frightening as the driver was fighting with someone and didn't want to drive them down. So the journey wasn't good and mum said they were glad that they got down alive! But, there was no hotel sorted for that night even thought they'd had all day and so she tweeted and put a message out on Facebook and one of Alice's fans was a friend of a friend who owns the Honey Badger Lodge in Moshi. Anyway, Mum sorted rooms there and they stayed there for the week and said it was a fantastic place. They managed to visit the school next door and they also went on a safari so at least they got to do something. So Alice kind of saved the day for them :)
Sammi and my mum with dolly on a purple safari LOL
The journey back was okay but very long and it was made worse when we got back to Heathrow and Purple Parking had actually managed to lose our car and Kathy's car. We still can't figure out how you lose two cars, but they weren't very helpful and our meet and greet service ended up being well over an hour. So we think they should change their name to Invisible parking or something because they make cars vanish and everything else that is purple is brilliant.

You would think that I would arrive home and watch all the stuff I'd recorded while we were away. But I didn't. All I have watched is documentaries of Everest and K2 and climbing things. I never thought I would say this, but I really enjoyed the challenge and am looking for my next challenge. It was strange to do something that needed me to be mentally strong as well as fit and I believe in myself a bit more now. It was good to visit Africa because it made me realise how much I have and how little they have and yet they are some of the happiest people I've ever met. I miss Africa so much already. One of our charity supporters sent me the best mountain book ever and I'm spending every spare minute with it. Maybe one day I'll visit some of the places in it!

This is all a bit long now and I still have to tell you about the K2B awards, Love Barrow awards, Park Cliffe, Alan Hinkes and my new volunteering at Oxfam, so I'll do another blog post in a week or so. I need to go to bed now as it's a school night.

THANK YOU goes to everyone who sponsored me - I raised almost £11,000 and am very pleased with that, and to my mum and dad for encouraging me to do something amazing.

Love Milly x