Winchburgh resident Sophie will take part in Scotland's Memory Walk later this month as she clambers up the 974m Ben Lomond munro.
The 32-year-old’s mum, Lesley O'Brien, sadly passed away, aged just 66, in March after living with dementia for two years.
On September 18th, during Scotland's Memory Walk weekend Liverpool-born Sophie is tackling Ben Lomond in honour of her mum, who was a very active and bright woman.Sophie, mother to 10-month-year-old son Caleb, spoke powerfully about her mum as she explained her motivation for signing up for Scotland's Memory Walk;
"I decided to join this year's Memory Walk in honour of my amazing mum. My mum was the strongest women I have ever met. Full of life, she loved her independence and had the most infectious laugh.
Her outlook on life and positive attitude will always be something I admire. My mum was my biggest cheerleader - and me hers. She showed both my brother Chris and I so much love and support growing up that I felt I could do anything.
Having become a mother myself recently, I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve wished I could pick up the phone for a chat, ask advice and share memories of my son, Caleb, with her. I know she would have loved every second of this journey with me. Caleb won’t remember my mum or see the amazing woman she was, but he will know her, I talk about her every day. If I’m half the woman and mother she was, I’ll be happy.”
Sophie and her family were shocked by cancer-survivor Lesley’s dementia diagnosis - and Sophie is keen to raise awareness as well as much-needed funds through her walk.She continued:
"She was diagnosed just before lockdown, but looking back I think the signs were already there.You just didn’t know. You’re in denial aren’t you? It was quick and I think I was a bit naive. I didn’t realise that it would take her like that.”
Taking part in her first Memory Walk, Sophie is keen to soak it all in by getting an early start at the trek.Once she’s climbed to the summit, a moment will no doubt be had to reflect and honour her mum’s life.
Sophie commented: “This disease doesn’t just affect older people, it’s not a natural part of ageing. Know the signs and get an early diagnosis.I just want people to not be afraid and to understand it. It affects their whole personality and it’s like grieving one person and then this new person comes and then you grieve them. It’s like grieving twice in a strange way.”
Sharing her plans for her walk, Sophie shared: "The plan is to get there nice and early to truly take in all its beauty.My mum was so fit and active, more so than me. I know she would love this walk. She walked everywhere and loved nature. She was the quickest walker ever, I had to run to keep up with her as a kid!"
You can support Sophie’s Memory Walk by donating via her fundraising page.
Photo: Lesley with young Sophie
Photo: Sophie with mum Lesley celebrating at her baby shower