The send off
On our morning run, we had seen the setup taking shape yesterday, but when we arrived this morning, it was obvious that they must have worked through the night.
It was a fantastic atmosphere that had been created for the launch.
A massive section of the Great wall had been replicated and the whole event was to take place along this wall, with the Olympic precinct in the background.
Last night we had been given warnings that there might be a massive Beijing sandstorm blowing in from the North. True to form, as the dawn light began to crack open the night sky, we looked out of the breakfast window, but all that we could see was just a reddish haze.
You could hardly see the building across the road; it looked like the prediction was true. It was a last-minute rush after breakfast, packing the gear and heading down to reception for our 8 o’clock meeting.
We rushed out of the lift with our bags in tow and straight into the assembled crowd, but I took a double take on them, looked again. Everyone was wearing face masks and breathing masks. I looked at Andy and we both just smiled. What was up with everyone?
We then took a step outside and everything was self-explanatory. The cars were covered in a film of red dust. You could feel thin particles of dust in your mouth and throat as you breathed in. Face mask in hand we headed out on the 2km walk to the park.
On arriving at the send-off site, it was quite intimidating as we walked into a wall of cameras, from the first minute it was video interviews and pictures. There was massive excitement around the event.
It was so inspiring to see all the well-wishers joining in on the festivities. The event ran like clockwork, a well-oiled machine and expert behind-the-scene organisation. Then came the speech time. Through the chatter of Chinese speeches I suddenly heard my name, my heart jumped as I was called up to the stage, a moment that I had been dreading.
I stared at the hundreds of folk in front of me, almost frozen in the moment, I then closed my eyes and just shared from my heart, a dream that was now a reality, a dream that Andy and I were now about to live, but also sparking a dream for 130 million Chinese suffering from kidney disease, that there is hope, hope through living a healthy lifestyle that one can avoid chronic health issues and that there is help available to sufferers.
But remember its begins with you. You have to take responsibility for your own health.