The biggest inspiration for this run comes from my grandmother, Ilse Herte Luise Smith (nee Marquardt) (1926-2012) and her journey. I will be raising funds for the Red Cross and her story below explains why.
In 1945 at the end of World War 2 she was a German refugee. Not knowing whether her family had survived the Russian invasion, she escaped her home in Neurese (now Unieradz in Poland) by plane. Surviving a plane crash, she woke up in a Red Cross shelter. Following another flight to Flensburg she walked approximately 300 kilometers to a German town called Celle. No food and suffering from severe malnutrition, she made it after three difficult weeks.
She signed in at any Red Cross First Aid stations that she came across in case her family (should they have survived) were trying to find her. These stations also helped with awful blisters and other health issues. I know she was always grateful to the Red Cross and continued to donate throughout her life – why I am raising funds for the amazing work that they do!
Fortunately, her parents and sisters had survived their own eventful ordeals but they were separated by the iron curtain. 14 years later in 1958 with her English husband and three wonderful children, the whole family were happily reunited! I wish I could have been there!
She always showed immense kindness, courage and strength – my inspiration.
I can’t even imagine what it must be like to lose your home and family, sadly, an experience that many endure today. Current conflicts include Syria, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, to name but a few.
We can raise funds to help people to rebuild their lives.