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I live in Los Angeles, where I write and blog under the California sun.

Gladiator Run--Raising Awareness for Children with Narcolepsy

Gladiator Run--Raising Awareness for Children with Narcolepsy

I had every intention earlier this week of posting about our Gladiator run last Saturday. Plans to report how seemingly straight forward it was, how we basked in the glory of it all afterwards. But since I'm not much of an athlete, cringe at the idea of a triathlon, and would struggle to run for a double-decker, I've been left so sore I could hardly bend down. And thanks to the 400 ft cinder block challenge, could barely type either.

Until now.

Nicole Lockett and I go back all the way to our impoverished student and post-doc days in St. Andrews, Scotland--when our husbands were at the beginning of their academic careers and we were pushing strollers round the ancient town pretending it was some kind of family adventure. I first met her working in a bank one morning, which was after she'd spent four hours cleaning the floors of the local school in the small hours. I in turn worked in the evenings as a PT. We would meet when we could for the children to play and I would try and convince her that British mince pies were in fact sweet and was superior to American holiday cuisine.


Over the years we've shared a lot.

Head lice comes to mind but so do plenty of good times. Like the Fourth of July, Hallowe'en, Thanksgiving, and Liberty's Confirmation. And I will never forget how she turned up when we first landed here, with a car for us to drive Mathilda to Stanford, and another car to take Liberty and Elliot back home with her. Nicole is like that: generous, sweet, and kind, and with a huge capacity for caring for people. On top of motherhood, she's a full time nurse at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton.

But, to return to the Gladiator run ...

What can I say? The four of us wanted to raise awareness for CWN and funding for Narcolepsy research at Stanford (see donate button at top of the page). We wanted a physical challenge and bonding experience with our beautiful girls. We were excited about doing something physical rather than virtual for Narcolepsy research. And since I cannot match Nicole's marathon running, a 5-K assault course for the four of us seemed ideal. OK, so there's the mud bit. And the ridiculous running up and down the stands of the Rose Bowl, which is the closest I've come to pain in a while. And there's also the writhing through the gritty trenches on your back whilst you're suffocated with hosed water, and the dumpsters full of iced water.

We did it all. All four us us.

We loved that our girls are stronger than we are and helped lift us over the 30 foot inflatables. I also quite enjoyed the jocks who pulled me up on the high ropes but what I wonder at most of all, was that we actually did  it. Because, I'm not gonna lie, I had my doubts.

The Gladiator Run was particularly poignant for me in that it echoes what our children with Narcolepsy do. They battle 24-hours a day, 7 days a week with symptoms that the rest of us can't relate to.

They are the true heroes. And I'm proud to be the parent of both a Narcoleptic and non-Narcoleptic children.

The medal at the end of the race made me smile. Because living here in the US, almost everything is celebrated and almost everyone is a winner. In the UK, we might have got a scrap of paper six weeks later that said we completed the course. Over here, it's a serious piece of bling that now hangs in the kitchen and will always remind me of last Saturday.


I'm grateful for friends like the Locketts, grateful for my Liberty Alice who is as strong as an ox both physically and emotionally and proud to be a parent of a CWN.

Please, if you haven't already, scroll up to the donate button and contribute to Narcolepsy research at Stanford. There are thousands of Mathildas out there who face day challenges far far greater than the dirty obstacle course we completed last week.

They are gladiators in every sense of the word and it's my privilege to be the parent of such a child.

With grateful thanks to Maddie Lockett for carrying me more than 200 ft, Nicole for the sweetest friendship a girl could wish for, and Liberty Alice who makes my heart sing.

Can the Child with Narcolepsy Thrive?             (Part one: Meds and Schooling)

Can the Child with Narcolepsy Thrive? (Part one: Meds and Schooling)

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