5 incredible people who are travelling the coast for charity
Meet the people who are walking or cycling thousands of miles around the British Isles to raise money for charity.
Every year millions of people take part in charity walks, bike rides and marathons of various distances to raise money for a number of life-changing organisations. This summer we’re sharing the stories of some amazing individuals who are embarking on an incredible feat – walking or cycling around the coast of the British Isles to raise money and awareness for a charity close to their heart.
Laurence Carter – Cancer Research UK
Laurence Carter started his journey in June 2018 with an aim to walk approximately 3,500 miles around the coast of England and Wales in just one year. Laurence took on this challenge to raise money and awareness for the charity Cancer Research UK in memory of his wife, Melita, who died of cervical cancer four years ago.
He is a passionate advocate for cancer research, being particularly focused on increasing awareness of cervical cancer and reducing any barriers to both cervical screenings and the HPV vaccine. As well as having detailed information about his journey around the coast, Laurence’s blog, 3500 to end it, includes essential information about cervical cancer and how we can help save the lives of thousands of women around the world.
Laurence completed his journey in June 2019 after a year of walking, and with a total of 4,314 miles walked. He had family, friends and strangers join him along the way and recorded his route and progress from each month on his blog.
Karen Penny – Alzheimer’s Research UK
Karen Penny began walking the coast of Britain and Ireland in January 2019 to raise money for the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK. She is aiming to walk 19,000 miles which will include twenty of the UK’s largest islands, as well as the British and Irish mainland’s. Her trip will take her an estimated four years and, upon its completion, she will be the first ever woman to finish this journey.
Karen’s husband lost both of his parents to forms of dementia, so funding and raising awareness of dementia are close to the family’s heart. Karen previously ran a marathon and walked the length of Britain to raise £6000 for Alzheimer’s Research, but this time her goal is an impressive £100,000.
Karen is dedicated to raising as much money as she can for the charity to help fund more research and breakthroughs for those who have been affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
She has been overwhelmed by all the support and hospitality online from people around the coast who have offered their support, and sometimes a space to camp in their garden or even a bed in their home.
Wayne and Koda – MIND, NIS Dogs and Keep Britain Tidy
Wayne Dixon and his canine companion, Koda, have been walking the coast of Britain for three years and are around half-way through their journey. It was Wayne’s dream to walk the British coast with his dad, who he often went trekking and walking with, but sadly he passed away before they got the chance. Instead, Wayne’s companion has been Koda, a Northern Inuit dog who was given to him by his dad, and together they have taken on this 7000-mile journey in memory of Wayne’s father.
As well as raising money for two charities, Wayne has also dedicated himself to litter picking as he goes. His chosen charities are MIND, a charity that offers advice and support to those who are living with mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, and the Northern Inuit Society (NIS), the official society for Northern Inuit dogs. As an ambassador and advocate for Keep Britain Tidy, Wayne also delivers talks and activities at schools along the way to educate children about littering and looking after our environment. He is always welcoming others to join him on his journey and has even attended events, such as Brighton’s Summer Silent Disco Beach Clean, on route.
Keep up with Wayne and Koda’s journey on Twitter.
Kenny Smith – MS Trust
On a 50-day bike ride spanning from June to the end of July, Kenny Smith rode over 2500 miles around the UK to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust. Starting in Chichester, Kenny rode for around 8 hours each day and met other cyclists, reporters and supporters along the way. He also stopped off at Letchworth, the home of the MS Trust, before arriving back home.
Kenny’s charity bike ride was in memory of his sister, Kathleen, who lived with multiple sclerosis for 24 years and died in 2014. Kathleen would have been turning 50 on the 31st July – the day Kenny finished his challenge – so this was also a way for him to celebrate her birthday and take on his biggest fundraising challenge to raise money for a charity that helped her through much of her life.
Kenny has been a dedicated fundraiser for the MS Trust for many years and has taken on different charity challenges, including trekking Everest’s base camp and running ten marathons. However, he believes this year’s cycling journey was his greatest fundraising challenge ever. Kenny is proud to be fundraising for a charity who can support and advise people living with MS all around the UK. The charity supported his sister from her initial diagnosis and throughout all her years living with MS, whilst helping Kenny and his family understand the condition so they could learn how to appropriately support Kathleen.
Kieran Sandwell – British Heart Foundation
Kieran is currently taking on a charity walk of 5,000 miles around Britain’s coast to raise money for the British Heart Foundation, and he is doing it with a new heart.
Kieran was born with congenital heart disease and lived with heart problems for most of his childhood and early adult life, including a heart attack as a teenager and mini strokes in his twenties. In 2009 at the age of 38 he had a heart transplant and nine years later he took on this extraordinary challenge with his new heart. You can read more about Kieran’s story on the BHF’s website.
“My 2nd heart is a gift of kindness that I want to share with everyone.”
Kieran set off on his 5,000 mile charity walk in February 2017 and is now almost at the end of his journey. He has had a wealth of support from the British Heart Foundation, as well as a range of people on Twitter and Facebook who have been following his awesome achievement. His blog, A Trail of Two Hearts has lots of updates, stories and pictures from his walk.
We want to offer our warmest congratulations to Laurence and Kenny, who have completed their journeys, and wish all the best to Karen, Kieran, Wayne, Koda and anyone else taking on a challenge for charity who is working towards completing their goal.
Whether walking or cycling, we commend all those who have devoted themselves to huge physical challenges, particularly those mentioned above, and raised funds for some truly outstanding charities in order to help thousands of other people who are living with life-altering conditions.
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- April 2nd 2019