Tomorrow, three more friends, Susan, Gerda and Esther, are boarding the plane to
Madrid to start their
Camino in Burgos, Spain, on Sunday. After many months of planning, they are ready to join
Emilene and Eddie on the Camino de Santiago de
Compostela. All of them are dedicating their journey to MSA and to the patients with the disease all over the world!
Susan and her happy family have been friends of ours for decades. We have been fortunate to share our lives and, whether it’s a meal or a holiday, you can count on having fun with them around! Trained to draw building plans, she has been a great help with my home renovation projects. You can depend on her to always find a practical solution for any problem. Susan always sees the comical side in any situation and anyone sharing a journey with her will have a lot of fun! Her loving support has been invaluable to me. She, and her sister Gerda, are also dedicating their pilgrimage to their dad who had Parkinson’s.
Emilene was introduced to me on 3 October during last year’s walk for MSA. I was immediately drawn to her enthusiastic, warm and caring personality. At that stage she was already planning to walk the Camino. Her enthusiasm infected me, and I started encouraging my friend, Susan, whom I knew dreamed to do this as well. Beneath her slight and elegantly dressed exterior hides a steely determination that has enabled her to conquer
Eddie is a regular hiking partner of Emilene. Any doubts I had about his willingness to do this for MSA was wiped away when he walked in and with a warm smile assured me that he is on board for this project! Eddie travels the world and hikes daily. I have no doubts about his physical ability to complete this gruelling 780 km walk!
|Gerda de Villiers|
Gerda, being Susan’s sister, comes from the same stock and is a mentally strong person and not likely to give up anything she has started. She works full time as a financial administrator and has trained and started a second career as a lifecoach. Obviously the kind of person that cares deeply for others! Although she didn't have a lot of time for training, she is an experienced hiker and has, with Esther and Susan, completed a couple of difficult hikes.
This week I had the privilege to meet Esther, who works full time as an occupational therapist with disabled children. She also runs a Bed & breakfast. This warm, soft spoken lady is enthusiastic to sow the MSA seeds on the Camino path to
Santiago. God has chosen and sent me another, very
worthy warrior for the MSA team!
Although she is not hiking the Camino in
Spain, my very
dear friend, Karin, accompanies me every day on the Camino of my life. She is the creator of this blog and also our
MSA facebook page and spends many hours on achieving technical perfection and also writes when it’s necessary. Karin has
taught me everything I know about blogging and facebook, enabling me to do what I do now. She organised the walk
on MSA day on 3 October last year. Karin
often sweeps in here with her laptop under her one arm and some delicious treat
under the other arm to warm up my day.
She hides sweet treats under my pillow, tucks me in under a warm
blanket, drives me to appointments and holds my hand when life gets me down. From her I have received countless bunches of
flowers, sometimes from her beautiful garden.
She is a creative writer who encourages and inspires me to see the
beauty in all situations. You get the
drift! My life would be empty without
the love she so generously bestows on me. I am truly blessed to have her as a
friend and, although too often in the back ground, she is an integral part of
the MSA team.
Every one of the hiking team carries a custom-made tag with the MSA emblem poppy (image below) on the one side and on the other a photograph of me. This tag has been laminated for durability and will be displayed in a prominent position on the back of each one's backpack.
As you can see we have AN AWESOME TEAM FOR AN AWESOME TASK, and we hope to add many miles to the MSA awareness project; A MILE AND A CANDLE FOR MSA
In the past week, going on the little snippets of news on facebook, Emilene and Eddie have made their way over the Pyrenees successfully, Emilene has dealt with blisters (I pray successfully), and they are spreading the MSA message as they continue on their journey to
On Sunday the 17th Susan, Gerda and Esther will start their journey. If they will ever meet up with the other two remains to be seen, but my prayers are with all of you everyday. Thank you my friends for doing this for MSA.
BUEN CAMINO TO TEAM MSA!!!