Ten people, 84 miles, four days. We did it! And thanks to all of you who supported us, a whopping £7000+ is being donated to Team Felix. As many of you already know, we’re raising money for Duchenne UK in memory of our friend Karl Kuhwald whose son Felix has the genetic disorder Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). Taking on the length of Hadrian’s Wall was our most strenuous effort so far.
We’d like to say we yomped across but…well, if you see us, you’ll probably not mistake us for the Marines, so it was hard going at times. Only two of us, Ron Verlander, London Stone’s electrical contractor, and Gavin Walley are experienced walkers. The rest of us didn’t quite realise what we’d let ourselves in for.
Alin Bursuc was one of our team of ten walkers. “This is the toughest challenge my body and mind have been through and finishing is a great achievement for me,” he says. The first twenty-odd miles were a revelation, especially after the minibus had picked us up at the end of the day and delivered us to the accommodation. “My muscles were so stiff,” says Alin, “that I couldn’t move for about a minute. I was in so much pain that I nearly cried (I was half crying, half laughing because it was funny) and everyone else was laughing at me. That night was a hard one for me – every time I moved I was in pain.”
Starting again the next morning was a bit daunting. Christian Kuhwald, our friend and uncle to Felix, sums up what kept us going. “When my body was fatigued, blisters were developing, muscles that I didn't know existed were aching and other pains kicked in, these are some of the things that got me through:
- Knowing that an able person was doing something for people who are not.
- The odd cheeky refreshing pint.
- The portable speaker playing great music when you needed a boost.
- Good meals along the way.
- A good night’s sleep.
- Having a laugh.
- When you're close to exhaustion and someone pulls out a bunch of chocolate bars.
- An obligation to all the people that suffer from DMD and all the supporters.”
There was something else that speeded us along too. “The most memorable moment had to be myself and Jules getting chased out of a field by a herd of cows,” says Gavin, “which unfortunately was caught on film.” (Oh, yes! Kept for posterity and office parties!)
The most effective encouragement, though, came from you, and it made those fiendishly steep inclines easier to climb. “There’d be a notification on your phone and you’d see another donation had come through,” says Jules Warnes. “That was a real boost.”
On top of the money raised by the walk, £2000 has been raised by those of you tweeting pictures for our #ShowYourStrength challenge which ran for the period of the walk. For every tweet you sent out with the hashtag and a picture of you showing your strength, we donated £5. That’s 400 of you who photographed yourselves doing everything from picking up colleagues (literally) to refusing biscuits (now, that’s tough!).
“The money raised,” explains Christian, “will help fund clinical trials in the search for a cure in the long term, or at the very least to slow the progression of the disorder in the short term.
The walk was just part of our fundraising towards our target of £30,000 and we’d like to thank you again for your generous support. We have a way to go, though, and it’s certainly not too late to donate. Time is of the essence. Medical advances are being made all the time and new treatments are on the horizon. Felix is just six years old and he and other boys like him are still young enough to benefit from these new drugs and therapies.
If you’d like to join in with the superb support we’ve received so far, please donate via our Just Giving page. In the fight to overcome DMD, every penny counts.