‘The most courageous person in Bermuda’
Marilyn Steede has been hailed “the most courageous person in Bermuda” after successfully completing a 24-hour walk-a-thon in honour of The Family Centre.
Ms Steede battled bouts of rain and heat, tiredness and sore feet to accomplish the mammoth task, which ended at the Angle Street Youth Centre on Sunday at 8am.
Funds for the walk are still being collected and have not yet been added up, but The Family Centre was aiming to raise $150,000 to meet their end-of-year budget.
Martha Dismont, the charity’s executive director, said regardless of the amount of funds raised, she was inspired by Ms Steede’s example.
“It was such a humbling experience to watch this woman walking when I saw her at 10.30pm in the evening and knew she would be walking for another 11 hours or so just to get to the finish point.
“If she raised just $1 for us it wouldn’t have mattered. It’s because this woman has such drive it was so humbling and very inspiring and I think she is the most courageous person in Bermuda.”
Ms Steede accepted the challenge for the ninth year in a row she has raised a total of $110,000 for charities across the Island over that period.
This year she decided to help The Family Centre, which is facing a growing demand on its services as more families are challenged in these tough economic times.
She said she kept the charity in mind as motivation along the way, but was also inspired by a handful of people who greeted her with refreshing drinks, snacks and words of encouragement.
“When I got to Rubis service station in Warwick, a young man came out as soon as I arrived at their entrance and handed me a cool bottle of water. This gesture was the perfect thing, at the perfect time, for the perfect reason. It was so refreshing and I am certain it put a pep in my step.
“Then when I was on the stretch near Green’s Guest House, a lady and her young daughter met me and handed me a cool quartered orange. She must have not long cut the orange up. It was still chilled and it went down just as smooth as the bottle of water again the perfect thing, at the perfect time, for the perfect reason.
“Then a lady was waiting for me at the edge of her lawn (just after Telford Electric in Somerset) and said ‘God bless you Ms Steede I came out to wait for you and wish you well’.”
Ms Steede said a little further along the way in Somerset Village she was greeted by another woman who ran to cross the street in front of her. While passing the woman said: ‘Hold your head up Ms Steede, I am proud of you’, before handing over a donation.
“Then when I was coming out of Dockyard, just as I reached the entrance to the old prison, a young lady in her early or mid-20s actually ran up to me from behind and with a beaming, sincere smile she said: ‘I have to touch you you are amazing. Thank you for helping people.’”
In addition to the good Samaritans, Ms Steede was aided by 14 drivers. One was Bonnie Claggett, director of operations at The Family Centre. She followed Ms Steede in a car for two hours in case she needed anything.
“It seemed like such a small thing to do for a woman who was offering to do so much for us and I was just excited to be a part of her efforts and wanted to do anything possible to help her remain safe while she did her 24-hour walk,” said Ms Claggett.
“It was quite humbling. Many times I reflected on whether or not I would have her fortitude or discipline because it takes all of that and more to do what she did.”
Ms Steede said she was just as pleased with this year’s walk as she was with her very first walk-a-thon attempt. “I feel like it was a big accomplishment. I feel really great that I have done it. Today I feel no pain or aches or anything to regret my performance.”
Donations can still be made by clicking ‘donate’ on www.tfc.bm, or by direct deposit: HSBC: 006 027973 001 A/C Name: Family Centre. People are encouraged to put their name or company name and ‘walk’ in the notes section of the transfer.