Portobello mum-of-two takes on Moonwalk challenge in memory of husband
HER emotional search for a heartfelt note left in the pages of a novel by her late husband saw her gain viral fame.
And now, a brave mum-of-two has revealed how cycling along to a range of hit Netflix series has helped inspire her to take on an epic charity challenge in memory of her soulmate.
Alison Payne admitted she was in a “bad place” after partner Jude passed away in 2015 following a battle with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, adding she struggled with “loneliness” while at home with children Thomas, ten and Rachel, eight.
However Alison, 40, said regular physical exercise had helped her “turn a very negative experience into something positive” as she continues her preparation for the MoonWalk Scotland in June, crediting shows such as House of Cards and Stranger Things for helping keep her motivated.
She will now join a close group of school friends to take on the challenge to raise funds aimed at helping projects such as the Maggie’s Centre at the Western General Hospital, where she received one-to-one support after Jude passed.
Alison, from Portobello in Edinburgh, put out the desperate plea on social media to find the copy of The Alchemist gifted to her by Jude before he passed.
And the touching appeal soon became a social media storm, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and author Paulo Coelho – who penned the allegorical work in 1988 – joining in with the search.
Alison said she now hopes to keep Jude’s memory alive by raising money to help families like theirs to cope with the devastating effects of the condition.
She said: “Being a couple with young kids, both of us would just collapse onto the sofa at night and put something on, but I had never really found a way to experience that feeling again after Jude passed.
“I bought an exercise bike and started watching shows on Netflix and I would just cycle until they finished.
“I was really surprised at the positive mental boost that exercising had given me as well as improving my fitness levels.”
Alison added that the five-strong team of friends – who met at Portobello High School – chose to take on the challenge as part of their birthday celebrations, with all the members turning 40 this year.
She said: “We’ve all been affected by cancer in different ways, and all have our own reasons for taking on the challenge.
“There are five of us in the team, plus an honorary member who will be cheering us on from the side-lines as she has just had a baby.”
She continued: “It has been great to be able to do some of the training with friends – we don’t live all that close to each other any more, but we have had training walks together.”
The MoonWalk has become one of the most popular charity fundraisers in the country, with its combination of physical effort and a unique, carnival-style atmosphere attracting men, women and young people of all backgrounds to take part.
And Alison said she hopes to have extra support at the start line, with Thomas and Rachel set to cheer the group on as they get under way.
She added: “I would encourage people to get together with friends and sign up for The MoonWalk Scotland. It will benefit your health and help others at the same time.”