Sliding twice down Shipquay Street

It’s not often I find myself on Shipquay Street at 9.30am on a Saturday morning. I have to confess it wasn’t by choice.

It’s not often I find myself on Shipquay Street at 9.30am on a Saturday morning. I have to confess it wasn’t by choice.

Neither was it my idea to slide down Shipquay Street on a perfectly dry day on a water slide with the aid of a blown up tyre, not that I could have used my own spare tyre. Over the last number of weeks as I prepared for the Slide On fundraiser for Cancer Research UK I was told I nothing to worry about, it would be great craic. In truth it was a brilliant experience, so good, I slid down twice! What I wasn’t warned about and what I wasn’t prepared for was plunging into the pool of freezing cold water at the bottom.

The reason I reluctantly accepted the invitation was due to the persistence of a friend. In truth, she is the type of woman you can’t say no to, because she doesn’t know the meaning of the word. She is one of those people who can run through walls.

Having battled through breast cancer she lives life to the full and has become such an inspiration and role model, she was recognized as Derry’s ‘Woman of the Year’ at a recent awards ceremony. The only time I said no to her was when she asked me to jump out of a perfectly good plane but as someone reassured me; a parachute only has to not open once. This reminds me of the story Fr Paddy O’Kane told me when he attempted a parachute jump a number of years ago. As the group of fundraisers hopped onto the bus Fr Paddy realized t the song being played on the radio was Garth Brooks’ ‘What If Tomorrow Never Comes.’ I would have taken this as an omen and suddenly disappeared.

Having said no once to the lady, I couldn’t again, so that’s how I ended up sliding down Shopquay Street last weekend. At fundraisers such as the Shipquay Street Slide-On and other events you meet many people and families who through their dedication, determination and generosity in the name of charity, health promotion and awareness show you the greatness of the human spirit. These are the women, men and children who, in the face of illness and suffering have responded with unimaginable bravely and selflessness. These are the people who shine like beacons providing those around them with hope. This is because Jesus enters our lives to touch us with his healing. As the Messiah, as the Son of God, Jesus offers new sight to the blind and hearing to those who have become deaf. There are many areas in our lives were we have become blind and deaf. We give thanks to those people who have awakened our sense of responsibility to support and encourage one another. To the men and women who provide healing to shattered lives, those people who provide light in times of darkness by revealing the healing presence of God.