Wendy's inspiration to take on The MoonWalk year after year

Thanks to the eight women for whom I’ve MoonWalked, after my own diagnosis, I entered this unwelcome hospital world with a greater understanding of my own situation for oncology, surgery, cancer treatments and drugs.

My first Moonwalk was in May 2006, and I’d never heard of either Walk the Walk or The MoonWalk before. A friend who was always taking on various ‘keep fit’ challenges mentioned that she was doing The MoonWalk London and asked if I wanted to join her. Little did I know that a chance remark when we met for a coffee would change so much in my own life.

A girlfriend had recently died from breast cancer, and when speaking to her widower in January 2006 I mentioned that I was doing The MoonWalk. On the spur of the moment I asked him if I could walk in Kathy’s name. He was touched by this and wanted to help raise funds too, so together we started the process. I sent out emails and letters to people in my address book, explaining what I was doing and why. I was pleasantly surprised to find that everyone was so generous. I had Kathy’s name on my back for The MoonWalk that May and felt very proud to be doing something positive in her memory. Along with their 13-year-old son, Kathy’s widower was there to see me over the Finish Line and I know he had a lump in his throat as I rounded the final corner in Hyde Park.


I just had to enter again for 2007, and two friends wanted to join me. In March of that year the wife of a dog-walking friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. I asked if I could do my second MoonWalk for her, and fund-raising became part of her recovery. She said that it gave her another focus to do something constructive to fight this disease, and a worthy cause for her friends to support when anyone asked what they could do to help her. Marlis coming up to see us over the finish line was the first time she had ventured out since losing her hair to chemotherapy and she was delighted to see the three of us wearing bras in her chosen decoration theme and colours. Having Marlis there in Hyde Park, knowing how dreadful she felt and how much courage it had taken for her to get to London made me even more determined to do what I could for Walk the Walk.

On to May 2008 and the following years, MoonWalking was becoming an annual habit! By now relatives and friends had started to ask in the spring if I was walking again and if they could sponsor me. Each year, sometime between entering The MoonWalk in the autumn and early in the New Year, I would discover another friend, neighbour or school mum who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. I used the same format each time – emailing or writing to everyone I knew, with the story of who I was walking for and why, giving a little of their background, family circumstances and where they were in their treatment. I’d write an update on how the Ladies from previous years were doing; they were always anonymous apart from their first names. Everything I wrote was given to them for approval before I sent it out and their name was on my back for the Walk itself. After The MoonWalks, I would thank each sponsor individually and send out photos with a report on how it had gone – the route, the weather and the bra decoration, as the colours and theme was chosen by the lady to whom that Walk was dedicated.


The “finish line welcoming party” grew, as the lady for that year and her family would be invited to be in London near the big pink tent that is MoonWalk City, along with my own family (and the families of anyone who had walked with me), plus my Ladies from previous years. We would celebrate with a big breakfast in the park, somewhere near the finish line.

Sponsorship totals for each year began to add up, but raising vital funds was as important as giving each lady another interest to focus on while undergoing their treatment. The Ladies themselves met through the finish celebrations and were able to offer each other support or advice, even down to where the best places were for bra fittings after surgery and to offer similar helpful suggestions that could be shared.

Every year it was sobering to find another friend had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and it made me want to continue even though the majority of my MoonWalks were by then walked alone – but how can anyone be by themselves, when in the company of thousands of fellow Moonwalkers!

The Breakfast parties had grown to be huge celebrations with so many Ladies, their families and loyal supporters attending so we decided to host them at our home in Surrey. It was made all the more special to see the Ladies in recovery and doing so well.

As the years went by, I got to know the Walk the Walk staff and became an office volunteer whenever I was needed. My son and daughter helped at the office too and we’ve all volunteered at MoonWalks and SunWalks. One of the ‘Magnificent Eight’ (as my Ladies were known) was also involved with Walk the Walk and she would volunteer during The MoonWalk night whenever she could, and be there to meet me when I crossed the line.

I was very privileged to be invited to the launch of some Walk the Walk projects – the Tissue Bank at Bart’s Hospital, the merging of two breast cancer charities to form Breast Cancer Now, and a reception at the Good Housekeeping Institute.

It was after attending one of these functions in the autumn of 2015 that I realised I was not vigilant enough or into a proper routine of checking myself, and began regular self-examination. Some months later I discovered a small lump in my right breast and through my GP was referred to hospital for diagnostic tests. Early in February 2016, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and scheduled for immediate surgery. I made a good recovery, and was the recipient of new and ground-breaking genetic testing and DNA profiling to determine the precise course of oncology and treatment for my type of breast cancer.

Thanks to the eight women for whom I’ve MoonWalked, I entered this unwelcome hospital world with a greater understanding of my own situation for oncology, surgery, cancer treatments and drugs - but it was still with a sense of bitter irony, given my ten MoonWalks for those with the same life changing diagnosis as I now faced.

My way of giving something back to Walk the Walk was entering for The MoonWalk London again in 2017– my eleventh! I was accompanied by ten others, including my son and daughter, who had asked to join me on this very special marathon when word got out that I was doing The MoonWalk again. Everyone’s support and friendship had helped me through some difficult times. I was touched and delighted that they all wanted to sign up, and together our sponsorship fund-raising was wonderful. I’ve since done my 12th MoonWalk and continue to volunteer during normal times, both at the events and in the Walk the Walk office.

I owe a great deal to Walk the Walk – without them, I may well have been telling a very different story. I certainly would not have been as fit and healthy going into my treatment if I hadn’t trained for all of the MoonWalks. My breast cancer would most likely not have been found until my next routine mammogram, however early detection gave me an extra nine months before the process would have started and the cancer may well have spread by then.

I have also benefited from the results of research conducted by breast cancer organisations that Walk the Walk help to fund, so this wonderful charity has played a large part both in my treatment and for my future.

My trainers have not been hung up in retirement just yet, so Moonwalk Number 13 and beyond may well still be Walked!


If you feel inspired to unite with us against breast cancer... check out our challenges here and if you would like to share your story with us, please email us and we will be in touch. 



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