Forth Valley nurses gearing up for Full Moon challenge this weekend

Two nurses doing the MoonWalk, Yvonne Cairns and Jill Thomson for local feature.
Two nurses doing the MoonWalk, Yvonne Cairns and Jill Thomson for local feature.

A friend in need is a friend indeed. It’s a well-coined phrase but how many of us can say we truly live up to it?

Jill Thomson has certainly proven herself to be a true friend – even when she’s nipping at your heels to go out for a walk when you least feel like it!

For this motivation was exactly what her friend and fellow staff nurse at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, Yvonne Cairns, needed earlier this year.

Having both signed up for their second Full Moon in 2018, Yvonne had a stroke at work in February.

She was in the ideal place to receive treatment quickly but it still came as a shock.

“I’m only 36 so it gave me a huge fright,” said Yvonne.

“A couple of weeks after getting out of hospital, I was a bit low and struggling to come to terms with things.

“Then Jill turned up and had me out training, albeit slowly that first time.

“After a good blether and some fresh air I started to feel slightly better.”

Jill made sure Yvonne kept their 2018 MoonWalk at the forefront of her mind while she was recuperating at home in Brightons.

And, within a few weeks, she was on the mend and back at work as a National Dementia Champion.

Yvonne said: “I didn’t want the stroke to define me.

“Walking has definitely helped in terms of physio and it helped get me back to work sooner too.”

Yvonne took on her first MoonWalk event back in 2016, a Half Moon with her mum Linda – and she hated every second of it!

She said: “My nana had breast cancer and I knew she would have been proud of me raising awareness and giving something back after the care and attention she had received during her journey.

“But I wasn’t prepared at all and could have cried at the nine mile mark.

“I thought I could just turn up with my decorated bra and walk.

“I underestimated the effort and training that I needed to be prepared.”

But Yvonne was more determined than ever to take on the Full Moon – the 26.2 mile marathon – in 2017.

And her friend and work colleague Jill, from Shieldhill, was more than happy to sign up with her.

As a self-confessed exercise fanatic who has walked the West Highland Way and up Ben Nevis, the 42-year-old, who works on the acute assessment unit, was up for the challenge.

However, Jill said: “When it was over last year, I thought never again!

“I quickly changed my mind, though, when Yvonne said she loved it and wanted to do it again.”

The girls are well prepared for this year’s event, having completed a 19.6 mile route around Falkirk a couple of weeks ago.

And they can’t wait to take on the Full Moon for the charity Walk the Walk overnight on Saturday.

They have even been invited to the VIP tent as special guests this year, prior to the walk’s kick-off.

Calling themselves Walk Stars, the duo – who met at work 11 years ago this week – are also getting into this year’s Hollywood theme – Jill’s going as Mickey Mouse and Yvonne as Minnie.

Jill said: “We’ve got our ears ready and will be covering our outfits with stars so we’ll look the part!”

But Jill’s husband Bob is getting a pass from picking them up this year...

“It’s his 45th birthday on Saturday when Hana will also turn 15 so they’ll be celebrating with our son Connar (21), ” she said.

Yvonne is hoping her husband Stuart (41) and their son Calabe (5) will be at the finish line though.

“We’ll be getting the train there but I’m hoping the boys will be able to pick us up, even though it’s very early in the morning,” she said.

Having completed the MoonWalk in seven hours last year, Yvonne is confident they’ll complete it in six and a half hours this year.

Jill joked: “She was overtaking people last year – I didn’t think she was competitive but I was wrong – so I’m sure we’ll do it!”

The girls haven’t shared any gossip for two weeks – so they have plenty to talk about on the 26.2 mile walk.

Yvonne added: “It doesn’t matter if you have your make up on, what your hair looks like or whether your trainers are clean, talking and walking with a friend for me is truly the best medicine.”

Yvonne and Jill would like to thank friends and colleagues who have walked with them and supported them in the last two years.

To support our very own Walk Stars, click here or here.

Walk the Walk is looking for more volunteers to help at The MoonWalk Scotland.

Donate a night’s sleep on Saturday, June 9, to help ensure the iconic Edinburgh event run smoothly.

There are lots of different roles, including working as a marshal on the route.

Get involved, this #volunteersweek and register now at walkthewalk.org/volunteerscotland.