I want to dedicate this blog to my Twitter friend Laura, who passed away on Saturday 30th March from Bowel Cancer, at the age of 31. Laura only got married at the beginning of March, to her husband Alan. She pushed the Cancer to one side to enjoy her big day with her family. She was beautiful, inspirational and fought to the end. You can read her story on Deborah Alsina’s (CEO Bowel Cancer UK) blog http://wp.me/p36pK6-2j #RIP Laura #never2young #cancersucks
When I arrived at the Ice Rink, I couldn’t get over how many cars were parked up. Jonny, who had picked my Dad and I up from the airport said they were all here for ‘Miss Popular’!! My response was that I have never been popular in my life, even at school I was the quiet one. I couldn’t believe how many people had dug their way out of there snow filled homes, just for little old ‘Cancer Patient’ me. It was very overwhelming and my tummy had butterflies when we pulled up at the door.
I was met by three of #TEAMKATIE Lyndsey, Cathy and Caroline and taken straight upstairs to the VIP area. The show had already started and nearing the end of the first half. They had delayed the show already to allow me to get from the airport, which was amazing in itself. In the VIP area, I was met by my mum, sister in law, Uncle, Auntie, Cousins, Mother and Father in Law and friends. It was such a lot to take in as my head was mush after travelling for so long, but I was over the moon that I had made it. I went to sit down on my chair and there was a lovely basket of toiletries for me, blankets and hand warmers. Jenna McCorkell (10 times British Champion, European, World and Olympic Competitor) was the last to skate in the first half and I got to see her, she was amazing and her dress was exquisite.
In the break, I was trying to call Stuart to see what he was doing but my phone had hardly any battery and signal. I managed to get a text to say the A77 was finally open and he was getting the 1930 boat from Cairnryan which would get him to Belfast for just after 10pm. That would have meant he travelled over 38hrs to get to Belfast. He did such an amazing job driving, he is my rock!!
I met up with Jenna McCorkell and her husband Kevin Van Der Perren (Twice European Bronze medallist, three-time Grand Prix medallist, Olympic Competitor & 7 time’s Belgian national champion). They had taken time out of their hectic schedule to come and skate in the show. They are really incredible for doing it and helping to raise awareness that is so needed. Jenna and Kevin THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. You are both truly #AMAZEBALLS xx
Not long after, my good friend and event organiser Kerry came up to see me. When I saw her I just burst into tears. She has done soo much for me over the last few months and I think the stress of just getting me to the show that Saturday just came out. We were then whisked off to do a UTV interview. I was like I look awful, I had no makeup on, no wig, my head was mush and I was in track suit bottoms. I got caught up in everything and did the interview, coming away not actually knowing what I had said in the first place. After that there were some pictures with Bowel Cancer UK and Cancer Research UK. Then a well-deserved cup of tea before the next half started.
The show was overwhelming and a roller coaster of emotions. I was crying one minute and laughing the next. Everyone did me so proud. There really aren’t enough words to describe how incredible everyone has been. All the hard work they have done over such a short space of time is unbelievable, considering they had only just over 6 weeks to bring everything together. All the skaters at the end of their routines would turn around and curtsey or bow to me first before the audience. I found this overwhelming as again, it was for little old ‘Cancer Patient’ me. Some of the skaters skated to old music I had used before; this is what got me emotional as the music meant so much to me. Even my Dad couldn’t take it at a few times and had to walk out because he couldn’t listen to it. The one piece of music that Kelsey Nolan skated too was ‘On Golden Pond’. I absolutely cried my eyes out, as I skated to that piece of music for a long time. Through my tears she skated to it beautifully, it was so moving!!
#TEAMKATIE skated again and this time they were ALL wearing my purple wigs!! It was incredible; I had to get my Mother in Law, Moira to get my wig out of the suitcase, as I was wearing a hat, so I could wear mine too for them. It was funny seeing all 17 of them skate around in my wig…..very AMAZEBALLS!!
The show had finished and by now, I was absolutely knackered. I think the adrenaline had kept me going for as long as it could, and the lack of sleep from the night before had caught up with me. I just needed to go to the hotel and have some food. But, I really wanted to stay and see all my old friends and family as I hadn’t seen some of them in years. But, I had to listen to my body and say enough is enough. So I headed to the hotel with my Brother Chris, Sister in Law Debbie, Mother in Law Moira, Father in Law Graeme and my Mum and Dad, Joan and Les.
We were staying at the Stormont Hotel; I have never been in it before. Our room was the Thomas Andrews Suite and it was HUGE!! The bathroom was HUGE, the bed was HUGE and the TV was HUGE. A big THANK YOU goes to Caroline for organising it with Mr Hastings and to the Stormont Hotel for their hospitality. We all went for dinner in the restaurant La Scala and it was lovely. The chef was even good enough to cater to my special dietary requirements. By the time we finished dinner Stuart arrived with the kids, their journey had taken them over 38hrs. Stuart was understandably knackered but still had a well-deserved beer. I had told them that the room was tiny, so when they went to drop the luggage off Sam came back and said that room is no way small!!! It was off to bed as the Sunday was going to be even busier.
On Sunday morning we woke up and went for breakfast. The kids love having a buffet breakfast as they love to go and help themselves to all the different things. We then went to visit my nearly 99yr old Nana, at her nursing home. She is such a strong woman for her age and I love her to bits. She was upset to see me, but a happy upset. She was just getting ready to be taken out for lunch with a friend.
We then headed to my brother’s house. Now this turned out to be a bit of a task to get too, due to the amount of snow they had had. Their little estate had about 10inches of snow and no cars were able to get in. We had to park on the main road and walk up to the house. This was hard as my walking isn’t very good as my legs are weak. I had to hold on to Stuart and walk in his foot prints, it was hectic. I was worried I would get to Chris’s house but not get back out again. I also had a sore back from sitting in the car for so long, so it was a bit of a struggle, but we made it. By the time we left some of the neighbours had started digging the snow so it was a lot easier to get back to the car.
We headed over for an early dinner with my Mum and Dad and went back to the hotel so I could get changed and actually look more presentable for the Ice Show. It was nice to do my make up and put my new wig on. I love the wig, it’s multi coloured with electric blue, pink and purple, it came all the way from China…lol! At the rink, we grabbed a quick coffee with Kerry and I was given a big Ice Skate Cake, it was fabulous.
I hadn’t seen the first half of the show on the Saturday due to the delay in getting there so I was excited to get to my seat, so I didn’t miss anything. Also, as Stuart and the kids hadn’t seen any of it, so I was excited to see their reaction to it. We went up to the VIP area and when I went to my seat, there was yet another gift on my chair. This time it was a signed Ice Skate from everyone at Dancing On Ice. I was really moved by it, as everyone has been more than generous to me.
The show was great!! Sophie loved watching the little girls doing Raindrops, she wanted one of their Hello Kitty umbrellas..lol Sam loved watching his Uncle Chris dressed up as Kristiana Smirnoffova and Kerry as Kazimir Vladivarsky. It was hilarious. My big bro did well, considering he hadn’t skated like that in years. To be honest all of #TEAMKATIE hadn’t skated in over 15 years. They all did me so proud! All the ice skaters and off ice performers, Rathgael Ravens and Born to Perform were amazing and the positions they get in to is beyond belief. Everyone worked so hard on getting the shows together and they were more than I ever imagined they would be!! To top it off, in the finale, Kerry and Chris brought Sam and Sophie on to the ice. They loved it and again I cried when they waved up to me. #MEMORIES
After the show finished, the raffle draw started so I decided to go down to the rink to show my support. When I got on to the carpet on the ice the whole audience stood up and clapped. I was taken aback, as I never expected it and again the tears flowed!!! Then Stuart and the kids came out too and we stood together as a family, it was so emotional and lovely. Every single bit adds to all our family memories, which will stay with the kids forever. We helped with drawing some of the Raffle Prizes, as the rest would be drawn after as there were so many to do. Sam was in his element, he loved pulling them out and we took it turns as a family to draw some.
We headed upstairs to the function suite to help draw more raffle prizes and to catch up with everyone. As it had been so busy, I hadn’t even had the chance to talk to people. The raffle prizes were fabulous; I couldn’t get over how great they were. All the local businesses have been really more than generous in the prizes they have donated. THANKYOU It took quite a bit to do the raffle and before we knew it, it was nearly midnight. I was knackered, so it was bedtime. Before heading back to the hotel we stopped at McDonalds for the kids to have something to eat.
I want to take this opportunity to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU to EVERYONE who committed themselves to get the two Charity shows up and running and for all the hard work and dedication. To Kerry Greer for organising it, to Castlereagh Borough Council for agreeing to it, All the Staff at Dundonald Ice Bowl for getting the rink ready, to Glen Pavis for being compère (there really was no one else for the job!), to ALL the local businesses for supporting it and to YOU the audience as without you guys the shows wouldn’t have taken place.The generosity shown by ticket sales etc and through donating on the Virgin Money page is mind blowing. We have raised over £12,000, for my two charities Bowel Cancer UK and Cancer Research UK, which is astounding!! It all helps raise awareness of such a horrible disease!! You are all #AMAZEBALLS! 🙂
I have forgotten to say, that earlier in the day we had a text message from Irish Sea Ferries to say our return boat was cancelled due to the weather. So we also had that to sort out. I left it with Stuart, as to be honest the outward journey was my fault and I thought he can make the decision on this one. He decided to get a refund on the cancelled boat from Dublin and rebook the overnight Stena from Belfast to Liverpool. That way we could stay a bit longer in Belfast, as the boat didn’t go until 10pm and we could get a cabin on board and sleep.
Monday was spent at my mum and dads house with my family and then we went out to dinner to Blue Chicago Grill in Dundonald. By the time we had finished dinner it was time to say our goodbyes and head to the boat. I wasn’t really looking forward to the boat as being on it for 8hrs isn’t my cup of tea. I was worried I was going to be sick, but I was proved wrong and it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I managed to sleep in the Cabin and it was the first time the kids had been in a cabin on a boat. They were over excited lying in their bunks. Stuart didn’t sleep properly as he said the boat was going up and down and he was worried Sam would fall out of the top bunk. But he was fine and I didn’t feel a thing.
On arrival in Liverpool, it was 630am and the drive back was quick. We stopped at McDonalds for the kids to have breakfast. They then fell asleep until we got home at 9am. This was a good thing as they then went to school!!!