SPONSOR OUR WALKERS.
This is a really easy way to do it. Your support will greatly encourage them to add on the miles. We are aiming for £25,000. [Sponsorship total]
Click on a name to go to a walker's sponsorship page. Or click here to sponsor the event as a whole.
Our Walkers over Wales
Stacey Reason, (plus Jorge the last week) from Toronto, Canada
Andy Williams, from Singapore
Charlton Thear, from the Canary Islands
Dan Chambers, from San Diego, California
Andrew Wakelin, from Wales
Walkers elsewhere with sponsorship pages
Dianne Berryman, Australia
Other walkers elsewhere
Margaret Carter, Kidderminster, UK
Summer Hamilton Brown, USA
Tanya Rafford-Raper, Australia
Bonnie Wynne, New South Wales, Australia
1st June 2010
Andrew Wakelin, aged 61, lives right in the middle of Wales and he loves walking. But walking can be tough for him, as it is for other sufferers of the rare muscle disease, McArdle's. From 2 July to 2 August he is taking on a personal challenge to walk the whole length of Wales, from Great Orme Head to the Senedd in Cardiff Bay - leading a group of fellow McArdle sufferers from all over the world on what's being called the 'Walk Over Wales' - or 'WoW'.
McArdle is a rare metabolic disorder that means heavy exercise is painful and can cause muscles to seize up and break down - even leading to kidney failure. Growing up, Andrew couldn't do cross-country runs and was once hospitalised after trying a tug of war, but he carried on walking - even climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in his thirties. It turns out that he was doing just the right thing for his illness, doing slow, steady walking to keep his muscles from wasting away. Nowadays, the regime Andrew worked out for himself is recommended to newly diagnosed younger patients.
Andrew is the UK coordinator for the the association that supports McArdle sufferers. He says, 'It's always been my ambition to walk over Wales, and I was planning a quiet solo challenge, taking a month to cover the mountains from one end of the country to the other. But then it all changed! I can't believe that when they heard what I was doing so many other McArdle sufferers and supporters wanted to come to Wales to join in.'
Walkers are coming from Canada, Germany, the USA and Singapore as well as Wales and England. A few McArdle sufferers who can't get to Wales are going to do simultaneous walks in their own countries to show their support. Four McArdle sufferers in Australia are going to do a walk in NEW South Wales.
Some of the other sufferers taking part in the challenge aren't as lucky as Andrew. Margaret Carter from Worcestershire is coming for the start, but she is only expecting to be able to do the first 100 yards on Great Orme Head.
Others think they may be able to do just an hour or two, or a short section. Some wheelchair-bound patients will be doing level sections. There'll be a support car along the whole route to help people who can't do the whole distance, and the walk has been carefully planned to use the best techniques for the disease and give everyone the chance to keep up. The WoW motto is 'Every step counts'.
However, several walkers hope, like Andrew, to make the whole 210 miles, going slowly and steadily and taking in many of Wales' most famous peaks along the way.
One sufferer taking part is Sioned Williams, principal harpist with BBC Symphony Orchestra, who wants to give a recital in to celebrate the journey.
Also taking part is Dr Ros Quinlivan, who runs the UK's only McArdle clinic, at Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital in Oswestry. Andrew is even hoping he can persuade his own GP from Builth Wells to come along for a day.
Andrew says, 'I never knew why I couldn't keep up with my friends as a youngster, and I probably did a lot of damage to myself trying. I was 30 before my McArdle Disease was diagnosed, which is typical. We know more about the condition now and can give young sufferers good advice, so it's really important that children get diagnosed early and learn how to avoid damaging themselves. I hope our walk will raise awareness, as well as collecting some sponsorship money for the McArdle charity... and of course boosting our own confidence and giving us a real sense of achievement.'
Further information: Andrew Wakelin, 01597 860686.
Association for Glycogen Storage Disease (UK) LimitedRegistered Charity No 1132271