Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Clicking those heels - and making a sound this time!

Tempting as it was, I haven't bought red shoes like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz for my second tap dancing lesson tonight but a pair of classic black ones. I'm a little bit excited.

My first lesson last week was conducted in my medium heeled work shoes which work very well as work shoes but were slightly less impressive on the dance floor.  They were a bit lacking in the noise department and the part where we were meant to stand on our heels was rapidly terminated, in-case it turned into the bit where I fell on my bum as the heels snapped.

Now I'm ready for tonight; I've got the shoes and have done a little bit of practice with my seven year old, a top tapper, so secretly hoping for a magical transformation into sleek fabulous tap dancing super star...

Optimism is a great thing!
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I'm doing this to help raise funds for these two fantastic charities, so please do support them:

Papworth Hospital Charity please visit my justgiving page at http://www.justgiving.com/Angie4papworth

Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association, please visit my justgiving page at http://www.justgiving.com/Angie-Ridley

Please do dig deep and make a donation, no matter how small, it all counts!

Find out more about organ donation and join the register!

#2020challenge #lifegiven @angie_ridley

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Message from an old school friend

Hi Angie.

You probably don't remember me much but just wanted to say how proud you should be of yourself for achieving all that you have achieved. I remember you from school always being quite small, fragile and fairly blue. I'm now a children's physio working outside Glasgow and thought of you often when I worked with the children on the cardiac ward and in intensive care. I never dreamt that you would have children or be so amazing in what you are trying to do with your challenges.

I wish you all the very best and believe you are a real inspiration for all the young kids out there who are going through similar situations. I hope you don't mind if mind if I tell your story (what little I know of it) to help parents through an often scary and desolate place pre transplant or post diagnosis. Well done and big hugs. I hope that you achieve all your goals and you have made me think I should just try and do the same thing.

Good luck. Celia

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Optimising Training for Heart Transplant Blog: will it work?

Just been on a Social Media Training course today with work and have been taking lots of notes as to how to promote my Blog; not sure that was the intended outcome!

Key words are a big trick apparently and I need to say things like: heart transplant, organ donation, Papworth, Freeman, lovely Cardiologists, lovely donor family and other such things.  Sits back and waits for search engine to find me!     Less keen on other organ transplant key words like immunosuppressants, rejection, cardiac transplant vasculopathy...

Branding myself as a transplant recipient has not come easily as I don't think of myself in such narrow terms. Most of the people in my own community and previous jobs had little idea of my medical history until I decided to do my challenge.

"Keeping mum" has been a blessing - people don't make assumptions about your abilities or ask intrusive personal questions, but also a curse - people don't realise that sometimes you could do with a bit more support.   #lifelessons!

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My twenty twenty heart challenge is a mid life crisis, promotion of organ donation and fundraising gig all rolled into one. Please help me raise money for these two fantastic charities:

Papworth Hospital Charity please visit my justgiving page at http://www.justgiving.com/Angie4papworth 

The Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association, please visit my justgiving page at http://www.justgiving.com/Angie-Ridley

Click here to find out more about organ donation and join the register 
 #2020heart  challenge #lifegiven @angie_ridley

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Double Challenge Weekend - Road riding

Pete teaches me about cleats
Dressing the part was always going to be important for this challenge, so as soon as I went round to Bev's we "lycrad up" for the road, with me borrowing the proper gear.  Pulling the velcro straps tightly and an extra pair of socks kept the road shoes snugly on my feet, despite them being a couple of sizes too big.

Pete gave me some lessons in how to use cleats, a clip in pedal system that keeps your feet fastened to the pedal for more efficient cycling. Disengaging the cleats was the bit that proved trickiest, which I demonstrated beautifully with a sideways fall onto the road at my very first junction.  I kept my left foot free for the rest of the ride to avoid repeating this stopping technique.



We cycled along the Guided Bus Way to St Ives for a hot chocolate before our return journey, a round trip of about 14 miles.  Really love how much faster you can go on a road bike, although my cycling confidence is not that great so was braking on the fenland down "hill" stretches, much to Bev's amusement.

Took an extra tumble onto the busway track  on our return journey after  being spooked by a roadie shouting "left side" at me as he whizzed up behind me for an undertake.  Those lycras clearly fooled him as to my expertise ;-).

Exhausted at the end of our ride! Thrilled to have the opportunity to try road biking and  loved the experience. Thank you Bev!

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I'm doing this to help raise funds for these two fantastic charities and your support will make all the difference:

Please make a donation to the Papworth Hospital Charity by visiting my justgiving page at http://www.justgiving.com/Angie4papworth

Please make a donation to The Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association at my justgiving
page at http://www.justgiving.com/Angie-Ridley

Please do dig deep and make a donation, no matter how small, it all counts!

Click here to find out more about organ donation and join the register

#2020heartchallenge #lifegiven

Double Challenge Weekend - Hula Hooping

Adventures in hula hooping have involved weeks of enthusiastic but in the end futile girating with a small light weight plastic hoop, only for it to clatter to the ground each and every time after little more than a single spin. Good excercise but not the outcome I was hoping for.

Research of the school run mum and facebook friend variety indicated that as far as hooping goes, size really does matter. As a result of this advice, I bought myself a large (102 cm) red weighted (625g) hula hoop with instructional DVD.  True to my northern soul, the choice of a red hoop was dictated by price; it was 4p cheaper than the striped version!

The hoop arrived on Friday and was waiting for me in a gigantic cardboard package when I returned work.  Within moments of trying my new hoop, I was hooping successfully both ways and am addicted!!! Children equally thrilled with the large cardboard package.


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I'm doing this to help raise funds for these two fantastic charities and your support will make all the difference:

Please make a donation to the Papworth Hospital Charity by visiting my justgiving page at http://www.justgiving.com/Angie4papworth

Please make a donation to The Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association at my justgiving
page at http://www.justgiving.com/Angie-Ridley

Please do dig deep and make a donation, no matter how small, it all counts!

Click here to find out more about organ donation and join the register

#2020heartchallenge #lifegiven

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

All quiet on the blogging front...

Conscious that aside from a few tweets here and there, I've been a bit quiet on the blogging front for the last few weeks. Despite my virtual silence, planning and progress continue...

This weekend I'm hoping to do a wee bike ride with my friend Bev along the busway to St Ives on a propper grown up style racy road bike, complete with lycra, cleats (I had to google that) and a bit of a pro-cyclist attitude. 

Cycling isn't a new thing for me as learning to cycle was one of my first ambitions after my operation back in 1993 and one which my lovely Uncle Dave helped me to achieve. Since then however my cycles rides have all been on super chunky hybrid road / mountain bikes. I've certainly never dressed for the part, even when taking part in the British Transplant Games the year after my transplant, where I won a silver or bronze medal (I can not remember which) in a 5K cycle race, despite my bike not being exactly fit for purpose.
Still remember the bemused looks I received...

Looking forward to my cycle ride with Bev and the cake that we've planned for half time; wish more fundraising activities could involve cake!
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I'm doing this to help raise funds for these two fantastic charities and your support will make all the difference:

Please make a donation to the Papworth Hospital Charity by visiting my justgiving page at http://www.justgiving.com/Angie4papworth

Please make a donation to The Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association at my justgiving
page at http://www.justgiving.com/Angie-Ridley

Please do dig deep and make a donation, no matter how small, it all counts!

Click here to find out more about organ donation and join the register

#2020heartchallenge #lifegiven

Monday, 10 September 2012

Punting Prowess

`Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING absolutely nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,'  Ratty, Wind in the Willows, K Graham
Gorgeous sunshine; a perfect day for "messing about in boats" and learning how to punt. We arrived early at Scudamores Boat Yard and collected our punt, choosing an aluminium pole for its relative lightness in comparison to the more traditional wooden one.  A quick lesson from the lovely Scudamore staff and in order to maintain my dignity,  I got my more punting savy hubby to steer us out of the yard so I could take my first few strokes in a more open bit of water.

Add caption
 A shakey start, where I punted from inside the footwell as I found standing on the till (the deck at the back of the boat) in the middle of a river a bit scary. Once I got the hang of managing the pole, I gathered the confidence to do it properly and stood on the till, punting for over an hour down the river towards Granchester.   Hubby didn't take up the opportunity of bridge hopping, but did kindly take over the punting once my arms started to ache, so I could chat to my favourite travel companions for the rest of the journey up the river.

My favourite travel companions..
We stopped for a picnic on Granchester Meadow, enjoying sunshine and reminicense whilst the kids scrambled in and out of the punt gathering fresh nettle stings each time for their efforts.

The river was much busier for our return journey, with lots of canoes, kayaks and other punts on the water however despite a few moments of dodgy steering on my part, we didn't have any major bumps!


Fabulous day on a level with our wildfowl peers as we tracked the sedentary pace of the Cam, whilst being buzzed by dragonflies.

Thank you to all of those who have supported my challenge so far with your kind words and generous donations.


Thank you also to Scudamores who supported this challenge by providing a free punt for the day and a few coins in my collection pot. 



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I'm doing this to help raise funds for these two fantastic charities:

To make a donation to the Papworth Hospital Charity please visit my justgiving page at http://www.justgiving.com/Angie4papworth

To make a donation to The Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association, please visit my justgiving page at http://www.justgiving.com/Angie-Ridley

Please do dig deep and make a donation, no matter how small, it all counts!


#2020challenge #lifegiven @angie_ridley




Monday, 3 September 2012

Challenge 2: Punting for beginners

Punting is a leisure activity so strongly associated with Cambridge that my not having ever stepped foot on a punt before has made it a compulsory second challenge choice. I'm thinking elegant, romantic...  

So, in my head this is shaping up to be an idylic, wind in the willows minus the talking animals experience where we will meander the river from Cambridge down to Granchester. Husband may even read poetry!

Back to reality.... on Sunday 9th September I will be having a go at punting on the River Cam between the Mill Pond and Granchester. This challenge is taking place with thanks to the fabulous Scudamores, a local punt comapny, who have generously given me a punt for the day.

I'm comfortable with the certain knowledge that I will both look like a tourist and get very wet  Wish me luck...

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I'm doing this to help raise funds for these two fantastic charities:

To make a donation to the Papworth Hospital Charity please visit my justgiving page at http://www.justgiving.com/Angie4papworth

To make a donation to The Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association, please visit my justgiving page at http://www.justgiving.com/Angie-Ridley

Click here to find out more about organ donation and join the register

#2020challenge #lifegiven @angie_ridley

Monday, 27 August 2012

First Mountain Climbed!

Climbed Cadair Idris via the Pony Path from Ty Nant on Saturday 25th August, starting out at 9:30am.

Climbing up into the clouds


Distance:                 6 miles
Ascent:                    734 metres
Time taken:             5 1/2 hours
Weather:                 Changeable, cloudy from about
                                 550 metres
View from sumit:     Allegedly stunning!
Difficulty rating:      9/10




At the sumit of Cadair Idris, after a 3 hour climb
Learnt lots about igneous rock and glacial erosian from my Geographer spouse in this amazing start to The 20/20 Heart Challenge.

Thank you to all of those who have supported me with welcome words of encouragement and / or sponsorship. Amazing that in just one week, I've  undertaken my first challenge and have raised more than £140 for the two charities that I am supporting, with more promised.

My idea for challenge number 2 is punting; watch this space for progress reports...



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To make a donation to the Papworth Hospital Charity please visit my justgiving page at http://www.justgiving.com/Angie4papworth

To make a donation to The Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association, please visit my justgiving page at http://www.justgiving.com/Angie-Ridley


#2020challenge #lifegiven @angie_ridley

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Challenge one: Cadair Idris

My first challenge will be a 2384ft climb via the Pony Path up Cadair Idris in Snowdonia; it will be my “first” mountain in Wales, which I’ll be tackling with my lovely Welsh husband on Saturday 25th August. 


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To make a donation to the Papworth Hospital Charity please visit my justgiving page athttp://www.justgiving.com/Angie4papworth

To make a donation to The Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association, please visit my justgiving page athttp://www.justgiving.com/Angie-Ridley

#lifegiven

Monday, 20 August 2012

How to donate...


The two charities that I am raising money for are:

The Papworth Hospital Charity who support all aspects of the work of Papworth Hospital, which is recognised as one of the world’s leading specialist centres. We are building for the future in the fight against heart and lung disease by staying at the forefront of treatment and research.

To make a donation to The Papworth Hospital Charity please visit my justgiving page at http://www.justgiving.com/Angie4papworth

The Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association who help and support transplant patients of the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne both financially and by providing facilities for recreation to enable them to improve their condition. Also to educate the public of the need for organ donation

To make a donation to The FHLTA please visit my justgiving page at http://www.justgiving.com/Angie-Ridley

Your generous donations will make this an even better challenge. Thank you xxx

Sunday, 19 August 2012

From whence this came...


Many have described their heart transplant as a second chance of life but for me it was more like a first chance, as I was born with a congenital heart defect that significantly limited what I could do throughout my child and early adulthood.

I've been extraordinarily lucky with my health in the years since my transplant and have had lots of fantastic "firsts" however they seem to have become a little thinner on the ground of late and I find my self forgetting what it took to get where I am today. 

The 20/20 Heart Challenge was born out of a need to do something positive to mark my twentieth anniversary in a meaningful way that gives thanks to the  family of my donor and all the staff who have cared for me over the last twenty years at The Freeman Hospital where I had my operation and at Papworth Hospital, who now provide my continuing care. 

The list of "firsts" is still in its formative phase, hubby having talked me out of tackling Ben Nevis in half term with the kiddies, however lots of avid googling is taking place so watch this space...