For Tony Mangan on his world walk somewhere in Queensland, Australia Easter 2018 was not a time for a lot of personal celebration. For him the few days on the lead up to Easter were ones where he was introspective along his walk. Walking alone is one thing but walking around the world alone for years on end is a totally different matter. Even more challenging than that is being alone in the wilderness with only your memories as your sole companion and this can have an impact on a person.
This past Easter has represented good and bad memories for Tony. His particular motivation for his website www.myworldwalk.com comes from the memory of his mother’s passing. Tony’s close relationship with his mother is much like many Irish people and this is to be heralded. Yet,this past Easter was a tough few days of walking for Tony as he was recalling his mother’s third anniversary of her passing. She died of cancer and, unfortunately for her and Tony’s family and friends, things may have been different if she was screened for cancer earlier.
So, three years later, Tony finds himself on the road somewhere in the southern hemisphere putting one foot after another in aid of early cancer screening awareness.
Coincidentally, only last week on the day of Tony’s mother anniversary a study by the Irish Cancer Society was published where it stated that around 3,000 cancers are diagnosed annually in hospital emergency departments. According to the study, three out of four cases are at an advanced stage and involve people over the age of 65.
Being suddenly diagnosed like this when you are elderly is still shocking for many. On an earlier world run memory Tony was once shocked by an elderly person who showed him so much kindness and like him at time, was at peace with themselves.
It occurred in the Andes Mountains of South America. Here, as he ran, Tony noticed a trail by the high way. He continued for a couple of kilometres until he arrived in a little village that was well off the beaten track. There he met a very old woman named Violet who invited him, a total stranger, into her home. Within her home there were no electrical appliances. Despite this, and being in this very remote region away from everything civil the old lady put on fire made of twigs, boiled water for a cup of tea and coffee, fed him and gave him a bed.
Many who are over 65 in Ireland may be feeling as if they are entering into their Autumn years and that they can bask in the sunshine free of a life full of working pressures, but for thousands each year they are instead in the midst of winter and are only looking forward to a hasty cancer filled exit from earth.
Bitter sweet after taste of Easter for those hastily looking back on the winter of their lives
Thankfully for Ireland and the world there is a sensitive and determined man in Tony Mangan who will continue to put one foot after another to educate the masses.
Although the Easter has now gone the bitter sweet after taste of the importance of exercise and early cancer screening resides for those that are only now entering their dark winter despite the Spring that find ourselves now in.