Guest Blog by Lucy Ferrier
Well, where to start? Growing up as the eldest of three girls, Alison always had a sense of responsibility and she embraced her role as the elder, more sensible one!
She took her role seriously and enjoyed keeping her younger siblings in check. Alison was kind, fun and as I recall, pretty driven from an early age.
She left home at 17 and I remember vividly going to visit her in the university halls. She had the place decked out like a ‘proper’ home and I thought she was so grown up! Alison knew what she wanted and worked hard to achieve her goals. I always looked up to her and admired her, ever more so now. In my younger eyes, Alison seemed to have it all. She was good at pretty much everything she put her hand to and I spent many years wishing I could be more like her, but knowing I would never share many of her talents.
Alison has always had purpose, willpower (except when it comes to chocolate) and a strength of character which is most admirable. These qualities have undoubtedly stood her in good stead to deal with the diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, which so cruelly interrupted life as she knew it.
On a summer visit to her lovely home in Cheltenham, we sat outside enjoying a glass of fizz (or two) and she broke the news to me. We giggled like silly school girls and for some reason, this seemed appropriate. It certainly took a bit to sink in, but although this diagnosis was life changing, she was optimistic from the beginning. She said that she was going to tackle this head on, research what she could and do everything in her power to live well with this disease.
Alison has done that and more! She has researched Parkinson’s extensively, embraced fitness and a range of other measures to keep her as well as possible, as well as running a home, supporting her family, and raising tens of thousands of pounds for The Cure Parkinson’s Trust.
I have no doubt how shattering that diagnosis has been and how incredibly difficult it was for her to accept what life has dealt her. I don’t hear very much about the effects it has had on her as she plays it down. I do understand however that no matter how tough things may be, she does not want pity, or to dwell on things. Her steely determination has stood her in good stead and on a positive note, has opened up a whole new world for her as she discovered the joy of cycling.
This new hobby, along with fundraising has in fact become something of an obsession for her and for those around her! She has roped my partner, Ewan, into taking part in her next challenge and so, cycling talk, stats and Strava, have all become normal, daily conversations. I have noticed that Ewan communicates more with my sister (through various mediums) than I do! In fact they are both in Lanzarote this week for a training camp!
From our childhood days I always looked up and admired my big sister. Now I feel full of admiration for the way she has embraced the challenges of this disease and her dedication to raising funds to find a cure. This next challenge is by far the most demanding and I’m truly inspired by her steely determination to see it through.