To be nominated to carry the Olympic Torch is evidence that someone has recognised you have some really amazing qualities and for it to become a reality truly sets you apart from the rest. When it comes to Seb’s Mummy and my wife Nadine, I don’t think it comes close to telling the entire story. This isn’t the place to tell Nadine’s entire life story (she’d kill me if I tried), but I would like to take a couple of minutes to tell you why I am the proudest man alive right now.
I met Nadine 10 years ago; just three weeks after my Mum Mary had passed away at the age of just 56 years old; taken by cancer when she had so much left to do. Nadine was my rock through those initial weeks and months as I came to terms with the death of this amazing lady. To suggest that Nadine filled the void would not be accurate, but she helped me to deal with my grief and to move on in the most positive and emotionally honest manner. I firmly believe that as one angel left my life another entered it and I am thankful on a daily basis for this. Nadine is the love of my life, my best friend and soul mate; these things remind me on a daily basis I am the luckiest man alive.
Nadine has had to deal with her own grief, as her brother John died of a heart defect in 1991 aged just 27 years old. Dealing with the premature death of one you love so much and watching as your own Mother attempts to come to terms with the death of her Son, is something even the strongest individuals would struggle with. This tragedy does not make Nadine a negative or depressing character; quite the opposite, she lives her life to the maximum and has the most positive, outgoing personality of anyone I know.
So moving onto more recent times; I will never forget the look on Nadine’s face as we were told about Seb’s Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) the day after he was born in January 2009. Far too many emotions that didn’t need to be activated suddenly surfaced and became reality for us with our own Son. During the first year of Seb’s life we had our emotional ups and downs as we dealt with his diagnosis and then his open heart surgery; but throughout we remained positive and loved being ‘first time’ parents. Since Seb recovered from his surgery we have done our best to live as normal a life as possible, ensuring Seb grows up feeling no different from any other three and a half year old cheeky little boy. Much of this can be attributed to Nadine and how fantastic a Mum she is.
As Seb’s Daddy my love for him is 100% of what I have; but this will never be comparable to what a Mum feels. There is something about the bond between mother and child that I experienced with my Mum, and I can see exactly the same relationship between Nadine and Seb. Bearing this in mind when you think about everything Seb has been through, the manner in which Nadine has held herself together only serves to increase my love and respect for her. Like all ‘heart’ Mummy’s Nadine possesses an innate strength that comes from the journey they have travelled with their little hero’s and in my mind they are some of the most amazing people on earth.
To move this on to what we have achieved in our mission to raise money and awareness for CHUF (Children’s Heart Unit Fund at the Freeman Hospital); Nadine has utilised all of her strengths and qualities to drive every aspect of our work. Her vision and style for events such as our charity balls, the support she provides me when I take on silly challenges and the human element she brings to everything we do is second to none; all of this whilst she deals with Seb’s CHD.
So at roughly 3.15pm on Friday 15th June, Nadine will run her 300 metres along Tynemouth Road in North Shields (past the Magistrates Court) and for a few minutes she will be the most important person in a lot of the world’s eyes, and the craziest thing of it all; she doesn’t see it! She doesn’t seem to realise how much she deserves this honour and that she is not just like everybody else.
In my eyes Nadine is the most deserving Olympic Torch Bearer out of the entire 8,000 who have been given the honour. I hope for the few minutes when she has the eyes of the world on her, she takes a moment to reflect on the honour of carrying the Torch, what she has achieved and how much she has inspired other Mummy’s; because she deserves every single second of the glory.
Watch Nadine carry the torch live from 3.15pm Friday 15th June here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/torchrelay/day27
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