Pretend is good. Pretend is very good: Eileidh and Harrison just broke the internet. Fact. Sorry, fake news, but you know what I mean…
We thought they were doing well with a piece in the Press and Journal until the story turned up in the Record, the Mirror, the Sun (don’t buy the Sun!), the Mail (one rag I absolutely don’t read on principle) and the (London) Times. Throw in the Metro, which probably means the story floated on buses and trains all over the UK, a wee piece on the ITV News site, quickly followed by the BBC website, and the happy couple were indeed the hottest thing since Posh n Becks.
So I’m gonna get this in first: El and Hazz.
But that’s not all: I’ve seen the story in Hebrew on an Israeli news feed, I’ve seen it in India, and the story has also gone out on the Australian news wires: oh if only they’d known that one of their own (and our own), Frank Loves Joan, aka oor Ammie performed a set semi live on the big screen. Amelie waited up until the wee small hours just so she could be awake while El n Haz were bethrothing Best Friend Forever on each other.
It was fantastic.
But then today it just got even better: America got hold of the story, and let’s face it, if anyone’s gonna love a love story, it’s the States. On the off chance that you haven’t seen the clip yet, watch this:
I’ve thought a lot about wee Harrison this week. He clearly likes Eileidh an awful lot and the parents have said that the first time they met, they pretty much clicked. Harrison could have chosen lots of other pals to spend time with, especially when Puddles was in hospital for long periods. But he didn’t. He decided that one day, when he was all grown up, he wanted to marry Eileidh. But that day won’t come because Eileidh is terminally ill. So he got the next best thing: he got the opportunity to be her best friend.
Can I be reflective for a moment…
Wee Oscar started me on this bike ride. Oscar was terminal in August 2013 when I first rode my folding bike to the bus at Fenwick. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would lead to this. Eileidh was diagnosed the day after Oscar passed away in May 2014: I was on a 165 mile ride that day. You will never convince me that LCFN and Eileidh Paterson were not meant to be. But I’m no longer just the bloke on the bike. Haven’t been for a while if the truth be told. That role changed a long time ago. Now I just think of myself as a middle man, enabling everyone else to do their bit. LCFN has become the glue that holds a whole load of stuff together and I’m just proud that we got this far…
Last weekend, indeed on the very day of the wedding, my mate Tom Pilcher, a journalist in Manchester, cycled from Manchester to Edinburgh with a few of his mates: 220 miles in a day. They made their train at Waverley with ten minutes to spare. Hey, they’ll be thankful that they didn’t have an old man slowing them down otherwise they’d have missed it. Imagine cycling 220 miles just to catch the train home. Rumour has it they got pished on the return journey. But their epic adventure also chucked two hundred quick into the LCFN pot, and that in turn goes straight to Solving Kids Cancer. See next year lads: we’ll leave at 3am just so I can join you.
As I mentioned earlier, Amelie performed her new song on the big screen at El n Haz’s big bash. If you haven’t seen it yet, or just fancy another grizzle, then grab the hankies and watch this. It’s outstanding:
Then I started adding up what everyone associated with LCFN has done for Eileidh. Mouldy’s incessant tweeting in the lead up to The Highland Bike ride in 2015, coupled with the fundraising at the Inverness Caley end, raked in four and half grand: that helped to get Eileidh to America for specialist treatment. And since then we’ve had the wristbands. I was trying to remember in the week where the wristbands have gone to but I know for a fact that outside of the UK, we have around sixty in Australia, a dozen in Italy, some in America, and one, wait for it…. In New Zealand. I’m just guessing here, but I reckon the wristbands have lobbed another fifteen hundred into Eileidh’s pot.
That’s why I’m now just a middle man. Stuff is happening all around LCFN, both directly to aid Solving Kids Cancer, and also to grant Eileidh her every last wish, and it’s just fantastic. I love it to bits.
But I have another wish, and I haven’t a clue right now how this one’s gonna play out. We may need to crowdfund it…
I found out at the wedding that Zara, the Fairy Godmother who held Hazza’s hand all the way to his Princess, is Strayan. I didn’t know that then: but I do now.
One day soon (real soon), I’m gonna have to start planning my ride from Brisbane to Adelaide next year. The procrastinator in me kept telling me that it was ages away so I haven’t sorted anything yet. But I will. I’m thinking that a higher authority was just holding me back because Hazza’s Fairy Godmother hails fae the Gold Coast.
So, here’s the deal: this is what I’m thinking. I haven’t a clue how we’re gonna fund this but we’ll worry about that later. For now this is just a dream…
El n Hazza’s big bash happened because of Love Rara. Who are Love Rara? Check this:
Love Rara, or to be more precise, Zara, who runs the show, sorted Eileidh n Harrison’s wedding. Zara project managed the whole gig from end to end. In one month. Venue, guests, photography and video, food, disco, you name it, Zara sorted it.
And she’s Strayan fae the Gold Coast.
Love Rara take kids characters to the kids: and the kids love it. Many a time the whole crew turned up at Eileidh’s bedside when she was desperately ill, just to make her smile. Eileidh always manages a smile, even in the darkest days. It’s just another reason why we love her.
So if you’ve watched the videos (of the wedding) and seen all the characters, you’ll understand that they make quite a troupe. The kids just Love Rara.
So I have a dream: when I ride into Gold Coast City next year, I’d love to stop off at the kids’ hospital (is there one?) and see Love Rara doing for the Strayan kids what they do so wonderfully well for kids in the north east of Scotland. I’d like Zara to be able to take her team on a trip back home and show what Love can do for Strayan kids who are sick: just as they did for Eileidh. Fabulous people, fabulous team, fabulous fun.
The spirit is willing, it just needs funding.
And so to the other stuff…
My head’s all over the place and I’ve got an image of Big Wullie over my shoulder telling me that I need to take a timeout. The problem is, big man, I’m trying to work through it. If only the NHS would agree to postpone the ‘go live’ date of SNOMED-CT by a couple of months because our mam died, I’d do it. But I have to have all of my software converted and tickety boo by Q1 next year so the foot has to stay firmly to the floor.
The emotional challenge has been, is, and continues to be immense. I can’t deny that I’m struggling. I’m not a doctor, I’m a software guy trying to learn doctor speak at age 64, just so I can take my ideas forward to save lives. That’s my job. That’s my goal. That’s my dream. But the learning comes at such a pace, at such an intensity, that I feel completely overwhelmed. Six modules, at one a month, and I only scraped past module B by the skin of my teeth this week. I think our mam secretly marked my paper. I’m really not sure I can make it through module C: it’s bigger, harder, more complicated, and the holidays are coming up, not to mention a major software release of some stuff that I’ve written that’s about to go out on trial.
And Monday is our mam’s funeral. See on Monday morning at 10am: think of our mam: a 91 year old version of wee Eileidh. Only 4’10” but possessing the fighting spirit of a true warrior. She beat cancer at 70, she was a widow for 45 years, she left school at 13 to work in a factory for the war effort. And she lived in an air raid shelter for ten hours most nights throughout the blitz.
Our mam would have loved Eileidh like one of her own. Just like Harrison.
Move aside Posh n Becks, there are a pair of new kids of the block…
El n Haz.