This blog was written by Anyone’s Child member, Chris, who organised a 65 mile walk along the Thames Path as part of our week of action to end the drug war in June 2019. The families walked all the way to Westminster to lobby government on the need to legally regulate drugs.

When someone you love dies there is at first only two things you can do, breathe and put one foot in front of the other. If you continue to do these two things you will survive.

Our walk of 65 miles over 6 days along the Thames path gave the three core walkers a chance to do just that.

Paul, Rose and I set off on that first day with enthusiasm. It was hot, it was humid, but we were optimistic and set forth with gusto.We were walking to raise awareness of the current drug policies and how ineffective they are in protecting our young people.

Over the next six days we were joined for shorter periods by people who were supportive of the cause and others who wished to find out more. There is another thing that the bereaved can do and that is talk. Sharing your story is both cathartic and healing. Ultimately, your story can become a tool for others to learn how to improve things for the future.

So we talked. A lot!

We talked to each other, to reporters, to Councillors and to other families. When we arrived, tired but exhilarated, at Westminster, we talked to our MPs. We shared our stories with anyone who would listen and found that people were very interested in policy change.

We did much breathing, and our breath was taken away by the sight of a pair of soaring kites over a field. Unfortunately we were so mesmerised, no one thought to get a photo.

We were fascinated by the workings of the lock at Shepperton where we enjoyed our lunch and impressed by the sight of the Royal Barge at Hammersmith bridge where we found amazing Thai food at a local pub. Some of us has a fish pedicure in the River at Runnymede when we dipped our feet into the water.

There were comic moments when we found ourselves at Heathrow airport instead of our accommodation for the night, as well as members of our group “going missing” and numerous small mishaps that added to the adventure.

We walked, we kept on putting one foot in front of the other, even though the route was sometimes longer than we expected.
And an unexpected bonus, in the midst of our grief, connected by the knowledge that only we understand, we laughed!

Friendships have been forged, life was affirmed, and if it were not for our loved ones this would never have happened.
It has given me an appetite for long distance walking and reflection, I hope to do something similar very soon.

To read more about our lobby of parliament click here.