Skydiving for charity is something many of us have thought about but few of us have the actual courage to do. I am delighted to share Cheryl’s story although so sorry to see the reasons that inspired this brave act.
1. Who are you, how old are you and where do you live?
Cheryl Miller, Cover Teacher at The Willink School in Burghfield Common, I’m 31 and live in Burghfield Common, Reading with my husband and my 2 lovely dogs.
2. What motivated you to take part in the Skydive for Young Epilepsy?
I’ve always said I would like to do a Skydive and saw on facebook a group that were doing it for young epilepsy on March 26th Mothers day. Kirsty was diagnosed at 12 years old and Its Kirsty’s birthday on March 31st so thought it was quite fitting to do this in her memory, then realised it fell on mothers day so for me has double meaning really and doing it for my beautiful niece’s Soraya and Regan Walker and their darling mother my amazing sister Kirsty Marie Walker.
3. How did your sister’s epilepsy affect you as a family and in particular you as a sister?
My mother is also Epileptic so it’s something that we have grown up with from a very young age. I think when she got diagnosed with SUDEP it hit me a bit more that her Epilepsy was more severe than mums but you just don’t expect anything like that to happen.
3. How did you feel when you lost your sister and the twins?
Hysterical when I received the first call from my father, numb and upset with the call from my sister to say all 3 had gone, crushed and heartbroken when I saw them at the hospital, angry that there was nothing I could do to bring them back, guilty for not being there with her (we were always together). A lot of mixed emotions to be honest which come like waves over you it’s hard to explain but all I can say is it doesn’t get easier at all you just manage to control your emotions better, apart from on the really bad days where you just get emotional over something really small that reminds you of her.
4. What have you done to raise money since your sister passed away and who for?
I did a 5K colour obstacle run last year with friends, we held a big raffle at our local rugby club, Friends have done marathons, Quiz’s etc which has raised about £22,000 so far and we are still raising.
5. How have you trained for the Skydive?
There is no training I can do until the morning of the Skydive.
6. How are you feeling as the event gets closer?
Getting quite nervous now with just over a week to go but excited at the same time.
7. What would you say to encourage people to donate? https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Cheryl-Walker8?utm_source=facebook Please let me have a link to your fundraising page.
Peoples lives can be changed with this money, you never think Epilepsy will affect you but it can affect anyone and it’s like a time bomb.
8. What would your sister say if she knew you were doing the skydive?
I know she would say I’m absolutely mad but I know she would be so proud. She was always so supportive.
9. Is there anything else you would like to share?
There was only 14 moths between me and Kirsty we were so close not just in age. We told each other everything she was my confident and I was hers. I just miss her and would like to raise as much awareness as possible any money raised along the way is a bonus.
10. Who has helped you both whilst your sister struggled with epilepsy and the wider family after her loss? – friends, family, neigbours, organisations???
We are a very close family and speak to each other all the time, our friends have been fantastic I couldn’t ask for better friends supporting me through the hardest thing I hope I ever have to go through. Our neighbours are great and actually in the process of organising another Raffle in the girls memory. The charity’s have been great too, very supportive and so very grateful for any donations received. We have a big support network and very grateful to all of them.
You can donate via Cheryl’s fundraising page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Cheryl-Walker8