Walking El Camino de Santiago in Mike’s memory

Fundraising to support Australian cancer research

“My name is Kate Narracott. I’m 55 years old and work full time as a Travel Agent. In April 2017, I’m walking 500,000 steps across Spain, travelling along the ‘Camino de Santiago’ also known as the ‘Way of St James’.

This journey began as a means to honour a youthful promise my older brother, Mike, and I made to each other to one day share an amazing adventure together.

Our destination was unimportant, our expectations were never defined but our determination to one day have our moment in time never wavered. Sadly my brother passed away 27 years ago from cancer and I lost a man who was not only my best friend and confidante – he was my hero and my champion.

Michael was 36 years old when he died. He loved life and lived each and every day with humour, style and vitality. We were very different people, both strong in completely opposite ways but those differences cemented our respect and love for each other. When we were together, laughter filled our world. I would give anything to hear his laugh just once more.

Watching somebody you love slowly slip away from you piece by piece every day is devastating. He and I made a decision to try not to cry on the days we shared. Instead, we laughed and told stories and jokes. We ventured out when his days were good and curled up on the days that were dark. When you share this with somebody you love – the moments that matter become very clear and you realise that the little things that may have bothered you once are no longer important.

In the last few days of his life, our world became very small and each moment we had was very intense. On the day of his death, I sat on his hospital bed with him cuddled into my lap. His young body had become a skeleton and his breathing was shallow and rattly – but I held him and talked to him until he passed away quietly in my arms.

We have all been touched by the sadness of cancer, it is around us each and every day. I have lost too many family members to this disease and am watching now as more struggle to overcome and survive cancer. I am in awe of their bravery, their daily fight and their enduring hopefulness for the future.

I wanted to support cancer research by walking El Camino de Santiago because the funds we raise today might help to save the lives of my own children if cancer was to affect them in the future. For that alone, I would walk across every country. Cancer research is vital to one day making life easier for those who struggle with cancer.

So to my brother Mike, our big adventure has finally begun. My hiking boots, bamboo socks, backpack and walking poles are ready and waiting. All that remains now is for me to get whipped back into shape, and believe me I am trying. I have been training for several months, walking around 80-90 kilometres per week. I have wonderful walking buddies who are keeping me motivated. Many kilometres are walked every day, even on days when I would rather sit back with a good book and just let the world go by.

On my trip I’ll be walking 450 kilometres or approximately 500,000 steps across Spain. The walk itself will take just over 3 weeks. The journey will have many challenges, both physically and emotionally. There will be moments of great joy and peace and I am sure moments when I will be so fatigued that I will want to give up – but I won’t. I am walking with a dear friend named Karen who also lost her brother, Anthony to cancer. Both of our brothers will have birthdays while we are on the Camino de Santiago.

This walk is far more than just my own personal journey, I would like to dedicate these small steps of mine to the loved ones that I have lost to cancer and especially to my friends and family who right now bravely fight their daily battles with this disease. You are all the true heroes – your immense courage, dignity, laughter and hopefulness inspire me.

I am a person who started with a dream to raise a small amount of money for cancer research. That dream has turned into a reality and I am well on my way to reaching my goal of $10,000. I have found the support, generosity and enthusiasm of others overwhelming and emotional. To say I am appreciative of the people who are behind me is not nearly enough.

I must thank with all my heart the members of the Rotary Club of Redcliffe Sunrise. I am moved and deeply grateful for all that they do for me. They’ve walked many kilometres with me in training, they’ve helped me sell raffle tickets, they’ve contributed financially to the cause and they’ve fed and watered me when I am too tired to do it myself. Most importantly they are my friends. They have wrapped their arms around me and given unconditional support and encouragement to the crazy idea that I would walk across a country to raise money for cancer research. I am humbled by their kindness and so very proud to call them my friends.

Well, Big Brother, it has taken 27 years of waiting, but the day is nearly here. We’re finally getting our moment and our adventure.

Please join me in making each step count, together we can increase awareness about the power of cancer research and raise much-needed funds. If you would like to donate to cancer research visit my Everyday Hero page here.”

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