Two local women are in training for next month’s annual MoonWalk which will see thousands come together to help beat breast cancer.
Patricia Clarke from Bearsden is about to retire as a consultant haematologist.
She has spent many years helping people with different types of blood cancer and became involved with The MoonWalk with a group from Oban called The Oban Care Bears.
And Flo McEwan, a specialist rehabilitation nurse at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, who lives in Kirkintilloch, will be taking part again this year after a close friend and her two grandmothers passed away from cancer.
Both women are currently in training for the event which takes place in Edinburgh on June 10.
Patricia, who is 59 but will be 60 when the walk takes place, has asked people to donate to The MoonWalk rather than give her presents.
She said: “When I worked in Oban I was based at The Vale of Leven Hospital but did a clinic a couple of times a month at The Macmillan Day Bed Unit for the Lorn and Island Hospital.
“The staff there decided to set up a group for the MoonWalk and called themselves The Oban Care Bears. I have worked closely with this group since 1992 and decided to do the full MoonWalk, the same distance as a marathon, two years ago.”
Patricia, who is married to Crispin and has two grown-up daughters, Elspeth and Ruth, said that although her specialism was in blood cancers she has personal reasons for taking part.
Her late mother Joan had breast cancer. However, Patricia said: “She was one of the lucky ones and made a full recovery.”
When she participated in 2015 she managed to raise around £600 and is hoping to better that this year, adding: “When I do the walk I will have retired but that will not stop me from asking former colleagues for support.”
The theme of the MoonWalk this year is jungle safari so The Oban Care Bears are planning to dress in zebra bras.
Patricia explained: “I have left all that up to the organiser. I am not sure what I will be wearing but I believe we are going with zebras.”
Two years ago there were a group of 12-14 who competed but this year it will be a smaller group – around six to eight this time.
As part of the training Patricia is planning to walk part of the West Highland Way to Balmaha which, from her house, is around 22 miles.
She said: “I will be doing Conic Hill too.”
Flo is also in training for the challenge and readily admits she is not the most sporty person.
The 53-year-old said one of her motivating factors in doing the walk was to show other people that if she could do it almost anyone could.
She has been taking part in Walk the Walk challenges since 2009, when one of her colleagues told her about the event.
Flo said: “I wanted to prove that anyone can do a MoonWalk if you put your mind to it. You don’t have to be stick thin.
“It is important to keep fit as a preventative measure against cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.”
Flo’s close friend and colleague passed away from breast cancer. She had been in remission for seven years, before the cancer came back. And Flo’s grandmothers died from cancer – one of whom had breast cancer.
Flo said: “For me it is about giving something back. It is great to see people coming together.
“The world is full of division so it is lovely to see what people can do when they put their mind to it.”
Flo has now completed four Full Moons and one Over The Moon challenge of 52.4 miles.
After her first MoonWalk in 2009, Flo had a short break from Walk the Walk and completed other challenges like the London Marathon and the New York Marathon instead.
She said: “The MoonWalk is one of the most uplifting and life-affirming experiences I’ve ever had.
“The FullMoon takes about seven hours to do overnight but everyone is there to support you.
“No one person can help everybody but we can all help one person.”
In the past, Flo has always walked on her own but this year she will be joined by three colleagues from her work.
In keeping with the jungle-safari theme Flo will be decorating her bra with felt leaves she has made herself and a matching skirt.
She added that she is planning to take part for as many years as she can.