This week, I had the pleasure of meeting a woman whose tragic accident 18 months ago inspired a town to rally together and demonstrate their willingness to give back to someone who had given so much.
As a newcomer to Sudbury, I was impressed by reading how quickly the town got behind the appeal with enthusiasm and determination.
The community spirit kept the campaign alive up to and beyond reaching its impressive £9,000 total.
Marion Blower’s story is a stark reminder of how easily everyday life is taken for granted. Going for a walk, popping to the shops – it all seems so ordinary.
But one fall can change everything and make those ordinary tasks seem like a forgotten freedom.
Learning about Marion and the challenges she now faces reminded me to cherish the freedom and independence that I am so lucky to have.
One of the reason’s behind the success of the campaign for Marion was her years of dedication to helping others.
Even while battling with her injuries, she spent a lot of her time helping other patients on the ward come to terms with their injuries.
We could all do with remembering how vital and fulfilling it is to support another person, community or cause.
But it doesn’t always have to be through money. You can donate your time, your services or even your ideas.
Sudbury’s events calendar is packed with charity fundraisers, from coffee mornings and street fairs to concerts – there is always a way to get involved.
Marion wasn’t wrong when she told me that Sudbury is an incredibly generous place.
Every week, I write tales of fundraising tooth fairies or Tesco employees donating their day to redecorate a local nursery’s garden.
Thanks to you, the fancy dress runner or the cake sale baker, Sudbury’s fundraising spirit is still very much alive.
So keep it up, look for the next challenge, the next race, fair or project to be a part of.
For Marion, giving back was second nature and her selfless work was the fuel to the fundraising fire that tore through the town last year, encouraging the public to show their support.
I don’t think anyone could read her story without imagining themselves in her shoes.
I certainly did and I hope I too would be able to get on with life as admirably as Marion has.
Her positive attitude was infectious and inspiring as she talked about being paralysed from the chest down as just another one of life’s challenges. “This is just a new chapter,” she told me.
If meeting Marion taught me anything, it was that there are no certainties in life.
She was packing for her holiday and the start of her life after retirement when she fell.
In an instant, those carefully laid plans for the future changed and she woke up to a new life – one in a wheelchair and with round-the-clock care.
As Marion adapts to being home, she remains positive about the challenges that lay ahead.
It’s this fighting spirit that will stay with me and hopefully inspire others to face whatever challenges life may throw at us.