I get knocked down but I get up again 

Charlene and volunteer Lizzie met in June, as lockdown began to ease and socially distanced walks were permitted.

Charlene had originally signed up to get a walking buddy earlier in the year, but just as she was paired, the pandemic struck so she had to wait another 3 months.

Charlene told us in no uncertain terms that she was 'prone to falls', but she assured us she can 'get herself back up’ and felt really strongly that the only way to prevent frequent falls was simply to walk more.  After careful consideration of the risk, we decided to go ahead, fully aware of her situation. 

Charlene is chatty, with an infectious US/Northern Ireland accent having grown up on both sides of the Atlantic. On their first walk together Lizzie found out why Charlene was prone to falls.

Our first walk flew by and I learned that she had been a paramedic and worked at York Hospital before slipping on ice and sustaining a head injury that changed her life completely.

Before her accident, Charlene has been an active Mum of twin boys (now grown up men), working full time and performing stand up comedy as well.  

Charlene had to adapt to a new reality. Mobility is a huge issue, she can only walk short distances and needs crutches for balance.

There is nothing wrong with her wicked sense of humour though, and her and Lizzie always have a brilliant laugh during their walks.

Quite quickly on during their first walk Charlene declared that she had signed up for the York 10km. Obviously training had been delayed by her inability to leave the house during lockdown, but with the race now postponed by a year, this isn't such an issue.

On their first walk together, they managed 500m in an hour; this was Charlene's first walk outdoors in 7 months. She fell 3 times (no injuries sustained, we are pleased to report) but as promised, got up, dusted herself off and marched on.

The second week it rained; the first time Charlene felt rain on her face in a year. It was a huge moment for her.

Lizzie and Charlene have now been walking together for 4 weeks and this week they walked to Bishy Rd which was a huge leap from 500m to 800m.

Charlene is getting stronger, walking taller and faster, so the York 10k is still in her sights. She gleefully told Lizzie she had bought herself some knee pads, but hasn't had another tumble since walking more regularly.

Lizzie didn't really plan to sign up as a Move Mate, she is a busy registrar at the LGI in Leeds, it kind of happened as a twist of fate, and she is very happy it did. 

My walks with Charlene are full of endless laughter, she is a very funny lady. I currently work in Leeds, but I'm delighted that I'll be working in York for a year soon, making our walks much easier to organise. And I can't wait to be right by her side for the York 10k next year.

And Charlene is so made up with having a Move Mate, she penned us this poem. 

An Ode to Move Mates...

I had a big bang...on the head, 
I lost my job and became alcohol led....
As I couldn't walk, and I could barely talk......

Mental health services were over stretched...
Doctors too....
Though a bone was thrown to me and I fetched :)

Move Mates has helped me to walk...
And talk as we all should.....
Because all of us...
Are " the little engine that could". 

Thanks Move Mates...
For being thoughtful enough..
To be The Greats 😊😇💚🥰
I am humbled by your kindness.