Four Stornoway nurses walked on the dark side on Saturday May 11th as they joined thousands taking part in London’s Moonwalk event and raised over £3,000 for breast cancer charity, Walk the Walk.

Friends Nicola Libby, Elaine Macleod, Louise Smith and Susan Macaulay – all nurses at Western Isles Hospital - hit the streets of the capital to walk 26.2 miles wearing disco-themed decorated bras.

After months of training and fundraising, the determined team put their best feet forward on what was a challenging but massively rewarding experience.

Nicola, who started long distance walking eight months after a hip replacement, has now completed the London Moonwalk three times.

She said: “All of us in the team are nurses, I’m a Staff Nurse in Surgical and the others are nurses in A&E. We see lots of people going through their cancer treatment and it’s a great way for us to feel like we’re giving something back. I know if it was me in their situation I’d like to think that someone would walk for me!”

Preparing for the physical challenge of walking such a long distance was a pleasure for the team in their island surroundings and the shared goal of raising funds for a worthy cause keep them going on even the toughest miles.

Elaine said: “Taking part in the Moonwalk is such a special experience (third time for me). The build-up, the training and the fundraising, which this year included a bake sale, a raffle and an Aquafit Ceilidh, gave us such a feeling of working together and having fun as we go along.”

Louise added: “There is huge amount of generosity in these islands and we are very grateful to all who have donated. It was lots of fun in the build up to it and the camaraderie.”

On the day, each and every mile was significant for the Hebridean team due to a list which they compiled before their very first marathon.

“We made a list of 26 of our friends and family who have had a diagnosis of cancer,” said Nicola. “And we walked one mile for each person on the list which helped us achieve our goal and complete 26 + miles. We have added numerous names to the list since then.”

Susan added: “Taking part in the Moonwalk this year was a personal challenge for me, having lost an Aunt to breast cancer. It truly was a very humbling experience, as a group we were encouraged by each other and all the volunteers along the way.”

Nicola, who decorated all the bras for the event herself, said she realised how worthwhile their efforts were when she connected with a breast cancer survivor after the event: “This year I saw a girl called Heidi, she was one of the many volunteers along the route. She had a sign which read ‘Every step you take gives me more time with my family’. I found this so moving that I mentioned her on the Moonwalk Facebook page and she said I could share her picture.”

The team wish to give a big shout out to their London helpers – Nicola’s son Stephen who lives in the capital – and Jodie Mackay from Lewis, who works as a nurse in St Thomas’ Hospital in London.

With this year’s walk now over, all that’s left is to start training for next year!

Walk the Walk has raised more than £130 million since 1996, and as a grant-making charity has funded both research into breast cancer and helped improve the lives of those living with cancer now.

For more information about Walk the Walk and The MoonWalk London, and to register interest in next year’s event, go to www.walkthewalk.org

To support the Stornoway team’s fundraising efforts please visit https://moonwalklondon2019.everydayhero.com/uk/nicola-46