I am Pippa-Armi, an SSRG girl on a journey to raise £10,000 for charity. I am writing to tell my story, raise awareness for Macmillan and Myeloma UK charities and invite you to join my journey.
I started playing with SSRG in April 2011; just 3 months after my father passed away undergoing treatment for Myeloma, a bone cancer. Complications contracting the flu meant 4 months after diagnosis his lost his battle weeks before his 56th birthday. It’s been a hard 18 months since, understanding and travelling through grief is unique and tough for everyone, days I’d expect to be tough wouldn’t be, days I’d expect not to be tough would floor me and the in-between days, I would be numb.
A work colleague, Blitz, had been pestering me for months to try out for SSRG – an intake in April 2011 came up and I thought something new may give me a great distraction from thinking about my Dad. The first 2 hour session I thought of nothing else but standing up, as the weeks progressed, as any roller derby player will know, you have to use all your mind to learn to skate properly; master crossovers, slice those laterals, take hits without breaking, transitions, other way transitions, stance, stride, learn to fall and stand back up again...The list is endless. It was 4 hours of relief every week I loved. I did worry the other skaters, well would think I was a miserable bitch, but no one questioned me and just let me get on with learning to skate and didn’t judge that I didn’t seem to want to join in the social side or even really talk to them. Not only did I get the 4 hours of relief at the training sessions, but the length of sessions, brain trying to understand everything and the new physical beating my body was taking meant on training nights I would sleep so well, instead of restless and disturbed – sleep at a time like this was valuable and gave my mind a chance to rest and understand what was happening. 18 months on, I have since shared my story, people have shared their own stories back, championed and come to my endless events and help out in whatever way they can. They’ve let me cry, get drunk and mainly hip check them when a physical outlet is what I’ve needed. At the time, I didn’t realise how much I valued it, looking back even over this short period, I couldn’t have done it without them and their understanding, to SSRG I will be ever grateful for setting me up to move forward and through the horrible process that is grief.
Whilst going through my Dads belongings I learnt that both he and my Grandparents did a lot for charity; running fates, going on tractor rides that covered the country and even one time my Dad (6ft 4 and 18+ stone of him) dressed as a fairy with collection buckets. I was humbled by his efforts and want to continue this legacy; the £10,000 challenge was born. In the first 12 months I have raised over £3000 you can read about this at www.cheshirescharitychallenge.blogspot.com. Good Vibrations is the start of many vintage and roller derby based charity events. It will include roller derby t-shirts, other vintage nights, markets and maybe a roller derby tournament.
Some may say, Roller Derby Saved my Soul, for me it certainly did; I want to raise a lot of money for Macmillan and Myeloma UK and in return save some other souls.