Families wear their silliest shoes to highlight challenges for children with cancer
Around 150 people donned their silliest shoes to walk a mile in bright sunshine at Antrim Castle Gardens on Saturday to help raise awareness of the effects of cancer on the lives of children.
They turned up with clown shoes, flippers, animal slippers, roller skates, stilettoes to support the ‘Mile in My Shoes’ event, organised by the Cancer Fund for Children’s Youth Advisory Group.
The group includes young people who have had a cancer diagnosis or who have a parent or sibling with cancer or others who have been bereaved as a result of cancer. Ranging in age from nine to 23, the group started in July with the aim of educating the public about the experiences of young people dealing with cancer.
Neil Symington, Director of Services for Cancer Fund for Children, praised the young people for coming up with the idea and co-ordinating a fantastic event that has shone a spotlight their experiences of the disease.
“The group really worked hard to put on this event and their efforts have really been rewarded. Everyone taking part had a great time but were able to reflect on the challenges these young people face.”
One of the young members of the advisory group, Maggie McMillan, 14, from Randalstown, explained the motivation behind the Mile in My Shoes walk:
“We asked people to wear uncomfortable shoes to symbolise how people walk an uncomfortable cancer journey. It was important for us to share our story so that the people can hear how Cancer Fund for Children helps us.”
As well as coming up with the idea for the campaign, Youth Advisory Group members have shared their stories, asked other young people to share their stories, helped design the logo, worked on a fund-raising pack, written the corporate sponsorship proposal, taken part in a photoshoot, written posts for social media and completed a voiceover for a promotional video. A Mile in My Shoes was sponsored by LM Paints in Ballymena.
Laura O’Hare, the Cancer Support Specialist for the Cancer Fund for Children, said the young people had done a remarkable job setting up and running their campaign and organising the walk. She said the idea behind sharing their stories was to show that the young people had different experiences of living with the disease.
She added: “I’m so proud of all the work they’ve done with the support of our team. To have created a full campaign having only got involved in the Youth Advisory Group nine months ago, with no prior experience of campaigns or organising events and only being able to meet three times in person during this time, whilst dealing with the impact of cancer is incredible.”