Walk the Walk: Inspiring real life stories

Thousands of fundraisers will Walk the Walk in Edinburgh next month to raise money for breast cancer research. The MoonWalk takes places at Holyrood Park on June 9. Here are some inspiring and personal real life stories from participants and organisers of the event telling us why they are walking the walk to raise awareness for breast cancer.

The MoonWalk takes place at Holyrood Park next month. Picture: Greg Macvean


“My second husband and I have seven kids between us, aged 9 to 22, and I just became a granny! Three years ago, we rescued two dogs. I was widowed aged 34, and diagnosed with breast cancer aged 37. I’m 43 now, have been all clear for five years – fingers crossed – and am

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happier than I’ve ever been.

Elke Thomspon has been all clear for five years.

“Cancer has taught me that I matter too, and to not put things off. If I want to do it, and I CAN do it, and I am not hurting anyone doing it, I do it.

“It’s never too late to change your life! I am working on being kinder to myself. Since doing my first MoonWalk, eleven months after finishing chemo, I walk a lot. It clears my head. I love listening to audio stories while I walk.”


“The parent and child gate is this way”, said the steward at the football match. Nothing unusual in that you may think, except it was said to me and my husband 40 years ago, shortly before we were married! The reason? Well, Graham is 6’3 and I am 4’11. Quite a height difference but that doesn’t stop us sharing a common pastime of long distance walking and, in particular, walking for charity.

Irene and Graham count it an honour to Walk the Walk.

“We are currently training for two marathon walks for the Walk the Walk charity. We count it an honour to raise money for this cause as my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago.

“Walking with a partner is so much better than walking alone, and age (we are now in our 60’s) or height difference shouldn’t put you off. Find an activity you enjoy doing, find someone to do it with and, even better, do it for the benefit of others!”


“I’m at that awkward age between retirement and death according to the adverts; a constant barrage of riser recliners, pull up pants and funeral plans. I’m not at that stage: I’m still working out this phase of my life!

Following retirement, Louise Dunn has finally discovered Edinburgh and reconnected with nature.

“When you retire, it takes time to redefine your sense of self. Although I retrained as a Callanetics teacher, I now have a lot of free time on my hands and the challenge is not to waste it.

“I love walking, something I started in earnest when training for my first ever MoonWalk.

“Having lived here all my life, I’ve finally discovered Edinburgh and reconnected with nature.

“So many things bring back memories when walking: the smell of flowering currant, ducklings following their parents, the view from Blackford Hill.

Sally Orr is a Paisley Buddy and one of the MoonWalk organisers.

“Meanwhile the television remains off till the advertisers have something relevant to say. I’ll just keep doing my thing - whatever that is!”


“I’m a Paisley Buddy, but have lived “down south” for almost 30 years. No matter where in the world I travel I always bump into a fellow Scot and a good blether can be guaranteed.

“Recently I met a man who recognised my accent as being the same as his wife’s, we spent the next 10 minutes discussing how comfortable a homegrown voice makes her feel. They had been married for many years, living in Brighton and this still amazes him.

“I find it amusing when people comment “you haven’t lost you accent”, why would I? It’s one of my most treasured possessions.

“I now work as one of the organisers of The MoonWalk Scotland and love it when I am in Edinburgh for the event. Although it almost chokes me to say it, being from the West, it is a beautiful city. I am so proud to be Scottish!”

Sandra Cairncross has climbed 30 Munros.


“One of my greatest delights is heading to the hills. I love hiking onwards although not always upwards. The hills that I climb are carefully selected as I suffer from acrophobia or fear of heights, especially when feeling exposed.

“However, taking part five years ago in the Three Land Challenge organised by breast cancer charity Walk the Walk, gave me the confidence to climb Schiehallion, my second Munro at the age of 50 (the first being Ben Lomond in my 20s).

“I have now climbed 30 Munros. I haven’t always enjoyed every step I’ve taken up and indeed down. In researching how to overcome this fear, I read that engaging your rational mind can help.

“So, if (when) the nerves kick in, I start going backwards through my family tree. This generally works for me – the exception being Ben Lawers. Even then I still enjoyed the hike and the views. A return visit is being planned.”


“Overwhelmed by the frenetic pace of life, with my all consuming, but rewarding job helping to organise the iconic MoonWalks, retreating to the wilderness is my antidote.

“The hours of driving to get there are an important part of the recovery. The simple pleasures of photography in such a remote location. The act of creating more like meditation than work.

“The daily ‘grind’ becomes an unwinnable battle with the elements. Whooping with joy in the face of an oncoming storm. The overwhelming sense of place allowing my eyes to grow soft. The slow passing of time waiting and watching the light do its work. Golden Eagles soar through Glens covered in snow. I eat lunch whilst watching Otters fish. The wonder of no mobile network.

“Where is this remarkable place? Torridon in North West Scotland. My Scotland.”

For more information on the Moon Walk, visit www.walkthewalk.org.

Guy Aubertin pictured in a snowstorm in Torridon.