Nina Barough talks Walk the Walk and The MoonWalk Scotland

Monday 9 May

Nina Barough talks Walk the Walk and The MoonWalk Scotland

Nina Barough founded the breast cancer charity Walk the Walk 20 years ago. Since then, its walking events have raised more than £100m for vital breast cancer causes. Funds from The Moonwalk Scotland event have supported a number of Maggie’s Centres, including funding the new Centre currently being built in Forth Valley in Scotland.

Walk the Walk started totally by accident.

I had a dream one night that I power-walked the New York Marathon in a bra to raise money for breast cancer. I didn’t know anyone with breast cancer – the idea that it was for a good cause was lovely, but the exciting bit was the idea of spending a weekend in New York and taking on a marathon in a bra! I really thought it was a one-off fundraising event and I didn’t have any plans to continue it.

It might all have ended there had I not, within eight weeks of doing that first challenge, discovered that I had breast cancer.

I don’t know if I supported Walk the Walk or if it supported me, but we supported each other through 1997. As a result I had the time to create Walk the Walk. So in a way, my own cancer was the catalyst for the charity.

We’ve been supporting Maggie’s since 2007.

After The MoonWalk had been going for some years in London, we decided to take it to Scotland. We were already giving a lot of money to research, but I realised that in Scotland, funds were needed to help those with cancer now. We could see that Maggie’s was providing an essential service to those with cancer, and we wanted to help it expand its reach.

I never cease to be inspired by our walkers.

I can honestly say that in the 20 years we’ve been doing this, not a year has gone by when I’ve not been very humbled and touched. Each year I see women who may never have taken on a challenge like this before, maybe never owned a pair of trainers. I think it’s very, very moving and every single person has a story.

If you can walk, you can do this!

The MoonWalk Scotland has a range of different challenges, starting with the New Moon, which is 6.55 miles. I think most women walk about three miles when they go shopping, so 6.55 miles is really attainable. The important thing is to sign up and then take that first step, and within a couple of weeks of walking two or three miles, or whatever their starting point is, I will guarantee that they will feel a benefit. My favourite saying is that if you think you can, you will, and if you think you can’t, you won’t. So, we think you can!

The MoonWalk is not just for women!

We always have a lot of men taking part, obviously not quite as many as women! Not only are men affected by breast cancer themselves, but every man has a mother, sister, daughter, aunt, grandmother… breast cancer is something that really does affect everybody at some point. The only thing is that men do need to wear a bra. From my experience, the men get even more involved with that than the women and really do enter into the spirit of it, so I take my hat off to them and love them for it.

Walk the Walk has achieved more than I ever imagined.

Just sitting here at 20 years, having raised more than £105m, I’m incredibly proud of everyone who’s sailed in this ship: the walkers, volunteers and people who work at Walk the Walk. Everybody’s had a part to play to get to this point, and I am so proud that I was able to receive the CBE on behalf of all these people!

I want to keep on walking and keep raising money for people with breast cancer.

As the holders of all the fundraising that our supporters work hard to achieve, I think it’s very important that we use that money wisely, and for me, the measure of that is that it makes a difference where it really counts. My dream would be that the need to raise money for breast cancer diminishes, but the need to keep on encouraging people to be healthy, how to change their lifestyles for the better, and how to really improve good health, grows.


How to Join Team Maggie’s at The MoonWalk Scotland

The MoonWalk Scotland takes place in Edinburgh on Saturday 11 June. There's a distance for every ability, so why not take on a challenge and walk for Maggie's at this year's event. Find out more and register to take part.