A True Queen of Courage




Today, sixteen years ago my best friend, Emma Walker, was called home.

She is the inspiration behind my blog and my Seven Summits mountain journey that I am currently on, so it is only fitting on the day we lost her, that I remember her and honour her memory. She courageously fought a life long battle with Cystic Fibrosis, an illness for which there is no cure, yet.

Every day thoughts of her fill parts of my day and on days like today when I remember her and honour the part she played in my life, the memories flood in.

This morning I was sifting through my old photos, laughing at all the memories we shared. There are so many. When we were teenagers we often used to head into town on weekends and almost every time we were there we climbed into one of those old photo booths that takes your passport photos in a strip of 4 and we’d squeeze in, pull the little grubby curtain closed, slot our money into the money slot and then the two of us would scramble onto the tiny swivel chair, falling over each other and we’d begin to pull funny faces as the camera began to snap away. Then we’d do it all over again. One strip for Emma, one strip for me. We used to laugh so hard I have no idea how we even managed to stay on that little swivel chair without falling off. Then we’d climb out and wait for our strips of 4 photos to come out and when they did we could hardly stand up straight we were laughing so hard at the photos that we held in our hands. I cherish these memories now.

While paging through my albums I also came across a bunch of photos I took in my matric year at school. The sight of my old school uniform brought another memory flooding back. At the end of Standard 7 (Grade 9) my parents decided that for Standard 8 I would go to a new school. I hated the thought of leaving my friends behind and more so my very best friend. It was near the end of the December/January school holidays that I got my new school uniform. I hated everything about it and couldn’t believe I would have to wear this awful uniform. I will never forget the day Emma came around to my house and I opened up my cupboard and showed her my new school uniform, hoping she would commiserate with me. Instead as I pulled back the cupboard doors and there in all it’s horrid glory hung my uniform, Emma stood there and burst out laughing. She laughed so hard the tears streamed down her face, and she had a coughing fit between laughing fits. She was practically rolling on the floor she was laughing so hard and for a good five minutes she couldn’t look or even speak to me without bursting out into a fresh round of hysterical laughing. She though it was the funniest thing ever and the most awful uniform! I wanted to die knowing I would be heading off to a new school in a few days time in that awful colour uniform without my best friend by my side. I told her that her laughing wasn’t helping. She just laughed harder.

I can’t remember exactly but it was a day or two into the new school year that I got a phone call that afternoon from Emma catching up on the days news as we used to see each other daily and if we didn’t see each other we talked on the phone, most days we did both! Then she said to me, “Guess what?” and I asked excitedly “what?” What she said next I never expected in a million years, “I start at your school tomorrow!” It was the last thing I expected her to say and from that moment on I don’t know who laughed harder at the idea that now she would too have to adorn that awful coloured school uniform with me!! It was the best news ever even if we had to wear that awful uniform, it didn’t really matter anymore for I had my best friend back by my side again!

I wish I could share some more photos of us together over the years but my computer crashed again back in March and I am yet to replace it so I am relying on my phone to post this and so I have used old photos I already have on my blog.

Just this afternoon as I headed home after spending the morning walking around a market in the glorious winter sunshine with a dear friend laughing at all the old junk we saw and the memories it roused of years gone by (I think Emma would approve!) I saw the front page of this weekends newspaper. It had a picture of the Stormers rugby game on the front page. I though it was a bit odd they made the front page of the newspaper even though they won, they haven’t been playing that well but I though their win might be the reason. I picked up the paper and turned it over to read the caption under the photo only to see the words “Cystic Fibrosis” as part of the headline and the article that accompanied the picture. How fitting for today as I remember my best friend. You can zoom in on the article below to read what it’s about but it made me smile as I read how Richard Burger, a 15 year old with CF, is now campaigning to get our local rugby team to wear armbands in support of Cystic Fibrosis awareness.

I have known many people who have fought cancer and some who have lost their battle. Cancer can be cured if caught early enough. Cystic Fibrosis can’t. It’s a lifelong battle that too often robs lives far too early. There is no cure and many don’t know what Cystic Fibrosis is or how courageous the people who are born with it are. If I could have one wish everyday, I would wish for a cure for Cystic Fibrosis and I pray that one day soon as many who support cancer, will support Cystic Fibrosis too.

I will continue to raise awareness until the whole world knows what Cystic Fibrosis is and I will continue to raise funds to support those living with this illness that has no cure and I will keep raising funds to support research so that one day we can turn CF into Cure Found. I am not a scientist so I can’t discover a cure but I can do everything in my power to support the scientists who work daily to find that cure.

To my best friend, Emma, I miss you every single day. Sometimes I am so selfish, so greedy and so spoiled. How can I ask for one more day with you, when I have already been so blessed to have had so many?

I miss you and all the silly nonsense we used to get up to. I miss all the laughter we shared. Now I hear you in the quiet. I feel you when I’m alone. I can no longer see or touch you, but I remember your amazing spirit, and it brings peace to my soul. You inspire me everyday, to live.

I often look to the stars and think of you, knowing that you are just there
on the other side.

You were a true Queen of Courage.

Remembering and missing the best friend I ever had, Emma Walker, called home today, 16 years ago. 24/07/1975 – 18/05/1998

To Janice and David, Emma’s mom and dad and to her sister, Tracy so much love to you today and every day.

If you would like to make a donation to The South African Cystitis Fibrosis Association who supports three regions in South Africa, Cape Town, Johannesburg and KwaZulu Natal, please click here.



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. margii73
    May 21, 2014 @ 15:22:45

    She sure was/is a special girl – she shines down on u every day – if u hadn’t gone to gardens I would not have met u and ems ( always remember u both giggling at the back of the table view bus – when I first saw u two lol :0)


    • Walking 4 Air
      May 21, 2014 @ 19:07:49

      Lol, that was so us! In our usual spot taking up the whole back seat, laughing the whole way into town and all the way to a school. Such find memories! And so true, had we not changed schools we all would never have met. Meant to be! :)


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