Sunday, 12 April 2015

Easter Time

I've had a busy few weeks over the Easter period, with special events and opportunities which I've enjoyed with enormous appreciation. I have been feeling really well, although I'm exhausted now as I've pushed myself.

On Sunday 15th March 2015 I was invited as a special guest to the Belfast Giants' game to drop the ceremonial puck. It was an amazing experience walking onto the ice (and I didn't slip), hearing my name being announced to all the supporters as well as hearing my Fund's hashtag #TeamDanielle, dropping the puck and meeting some of the Giants again. It is a day I will remember forever.

On Tuesday 17th March 2015 my mum, dad and I went to Down Royal Race Course to watch racehorse Danielle's Journey who is named after my blog and which my Fund has 5% share in compete in her third race. It was my first time going to the races and what a great experience it was. Danielle's Journey placed first and I'm so pleased to have been there as the last two times she's raced I've been in Bristol. It was so nice to me some lovely new people who were also supporting Danielle's Journey. I look forward to seeing her race again.

I was awarded a Points of Light award by the Prime Minister David Cameron on March 6th 2015. It was an honour to receive this award and to be nominated by a member of the community, who heard me speak at my old grammar school, Hunterhouse College's award giving. When I began fundraising and awareness raising of brain tumours with The Brain Tumour Charity, it never crossed my mind or was my goal to receive awards for the work I have done, but I have won three awards which I'm truly grateful for.

The Prime Minister sent me a tweet announcing that I had won the award, and on Friday 20th March 2015 I was officially presented with my award by the Lord Mayor of Belfast Nichola Mallon, which was very special as I have been following the great work she has been involved in while she has been in office. I was invited along with my family, friends and representatives from some of the businesses who have supported The Brain Tumour Charity - Danielle McGriskin Fund. I also got to meet the lovely lady who nominated me and for whom herself has also won a Points of Light award. I've never been inside the City Hall before. Like most official buildings, it looks smaller on the outside than it does on the inside, a bit like the wardrobe from the movie Narnia. It'a grand building with beautiful elegsnt artitectural details and a grand staircase. We were all invited for tea and canap├ęs in the Lord Mayors parlour. After I was presented with my award, my guests and I went outside to watch the City Hall being lit up in teal and red, The Brain Tumour Charity's colours to mark Brain Tumour Awareness Month. It was the first time Belfast City Hall had been lit up to mark Brain Tumour Awareness. The evening was very special and it was great to be surrounded by all those who have chosen to support my fundraising.

This Easter holiday was the first time since being diagnosed with a brain tumour and hydrocephalus in July 2011 that my family and I went on a holiday abroad together. I had never been well enough to go abroad until now. My sister, Rebecca and I have never been to Germany and we've always wanted to go, so Germany it was. We went to a place in Germany called, Munich. It's a beautiful city with historic buildings and everyone is so friendly. It was so cold in Munich, the locals kept saying that at this time of the year the sun is always shining and it's warm, but there was a lot of rain, snow, wind, thunder and lightening and only one day of sun while we there. During our stay we visited a concentration camp in Dachau. It was sad to be in a place where many people died so horrifically and were treated so badly. I found it partially hard to walk around the building where the gas chamber and crematorium was, to imagine the thousands of people living in such a hard regime and unable to escape. We also visited the BMW Museum, my dad and I love cars. My dad used to drive me to school and we would point out different cars on our journey. I loved every moment of it. It was so fascinating to see some of the really old BMW models and the latest ones too. My mum and sister managed to stay for a short while and then escaped to the coffee shop, it wasn't there thing. I wasn't keen on German food, so thankfully the hotel served a continental breakfast and had a steak restaurant too. Although it was my goal to go to a traditional German bar and have a local beer and bratwurst, which I did.

I decided to treat my pug Harry to a new lead and collar. I know pugs shouldn't wear collars as they have breathing problems, but this is just for around the house so he has his dog tag on. We use his harness for when we take him out and about and he was in need of a new lead too. I also got him a cute bandana which matches his collar and lead. The bandana is really good as it slips onto his collar, so it's not tied around his neck. I think he looks very cute!

Danielle X