Sheilagh Fleming is one adventurous lady; a few years ago, she took on the challenge of abseiling down Liverpool Cathedral, and this year, she completed a fire walk over burning hot embers to fundraise for our charity. Her daring fundraisers are all undertaken in memory of her mum, Paula. Here, she shares her memories of her dear mother and recent fire walk experience.
“My mum died from lung cancer in July 2015. She was only 50. The time between her diagnosis and her passing was only 9 months but if it had been another form of cancer, her prognosis probably would have been very different. Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation have been researching and fundraising for lung cancer for over 30 years, that’s why my family and I always choose to support them.
Mum was a fiery Irishwoman. She was born in Zambia, Africa, and moved to Ireland before the age of 5. She was a talented musician and could play the piano, violin, flute, clarinet, and trumpet. She was a loving and friendly person who loved to laugh – the scene in 101 Dalmatians when the skunk emits a foul smell in the car would make her absolutely howl with laughter!
Mum was extremely low maintenance. She wouldn’t even use a hairdryer; she’d just drive to work with the window open and that was her blow dry. And then as soon as winter was over, you’d find her wearing shorts and sandals because she wanted a tan.”
“A lot of people thought I was mad when I decided to do a fire walk for charity! I thought it would be a really cool thing to do.
There wasn’t much training to do. I took part in a motivational seminar beforehand where I actually also ended up walking over broken glass! The whole session was mostly about believing in yourself and becoming a better version of yourself by leaving your comfort zone. All you need to do to get across coals burning at 1400 degrees Fahrenheit is walk with purpose!
I got quite nervous waiting for my turn as there were 22 walkers but as instructed, I thought about my purpose and reason for doing it – my mum – a fire walk is the kind of thing she’d loved to have done.
My husband was in the audience too, so I fixed my eyes on him and off I went. I didn’t even feel the heat at first but when I could feel it, I wasn’t scared because I had my purpose.
I am so grateful to everyone who supported me – I managed to raise £500 for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, but I’m not stopping there, I’m already thinking of what I can do next – hopefully 2023 will see me do a shark dive at the Blue Planet Aquarium – watch this space!”