As Amanda Duquenoy power walks through the streets of London in the early hours of the morning, she’ll be surrounded by people whose lives have been touched by breast cancer.
More than 15,000 women and men will descend on the capital for this very special late-night, early-morning event – and they will all be walking in brightly-decorated bras.
They’ve not lost the plot. This is the Moonwalk, raising money and support for people with breast cancer.
For Amanda, who was diagnosed with the disease three years ago, it’s a chance to do some fundraising for a cause close to her heart and celebrate life in a lively and unique way.
She and her colleagues from Nicola Jane, a specialist mastectomy underwear company in Chichester, have been stepping up their training regime ahead of the 26.2 mile marathon.
This is the sixth year a team from Nicola Jane will take part in the event, which raises money for breast cancer charity Walk the Walk.
‘There is such camaraderie and encouragement from your fellow walkers and all the stewards, it makes you feel really special to be taking part,’ says Amanda, Nicola Jane’s product director.
‘And the sense of achievement when you cross the line and receive your medal, knowing that you have raised lots of money for Walk the Walk in the process, is just amazing.’
The first Moonwalk was held in New York in 1996 and it’s thrived ever since. What started out as a one-off fundraising event has blossomed into a multi-million pound charity, raising more than £65m for breast cancer causes to date.
Amanda and the rest of the Nicola Jane team – Claire-Marie Farrar, Melissa Reeve, Anita Fauchon, Aimee Francis, Julita Kordek, Jakki Hunking, Ansuya Padhir, Janine Fletcher and managing director Pete Lawrence – have been training on Sundays, with walks from Chichester to Emsworth, and during their lunch breaks.
‘It’s such a great charity event,’ adds Amanda.
‘You get to see parts of London that you never get to see normally.
‘Doing what we do, helping ladies who’ve had breast cancer and who are getting on with their lives, this charity gets all my support.’
Walkers will set off from Hyde Park at midnight on Saturday, May 14 and even though they aren’t running the distance, it is a gruelling challenge.
‘It is pretty hard-core,’ says Amanda. ‘You get sent a training programme and start off doing four or five miles and gradually work your way up. Most of us are doing 18 or 20 miles before the event. It’s all road walking so it’s tough. But it’s such a fabulous event, you get caught up by it all.’
To support the Nicola Jane team log on to justgiving.com/nicolajanemoonwalk2011.