22nd March 2023

Walking with purpose

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When it comes to fundraising, there are so many incredible events to get involved with that don’t require a ton of long and intensive training.

Taking part in a sponsored walk or trek is a fantastic way to get the blood pumping and the lungs working whilst taking in some spectacular views and landmarks. It can also give you the time and space to reflect and remember your loved one. That’s what Carmel O’Brien did when she took on the Thames Path Challenge in memory of her sister, Helen.

“We lost Helen on 1st March 2022, just six short months after she was diagnosed with stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer. She was just 58 years old. Suffice to say, everyone who knew her was both shocked and devastated.

“At her funeral, we asked for donations to either The Cancer unit at Queens Hospital, who had cared for Helen, or to Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation to support the charity’s vital work in improving early detection and supporting all those affected. Her photo is also honoured on the charity’s memory wall, but I wanted to do more.

“I knew that I wanted to take on a challenge that would require effort on my part, that would push me, but I am not marathon material! I love walking though, so I decided on a trek and, in particular, the Thames Path Challenge would be a great fit for me.

“Like many treks, there are different options to choose from, so you can pick the best one for you. The longest walk I had ever done was 22k, so I opted for the 25k distance. I think the 50k would have been a step (or several thousand steps) too far!

“The path was flat, with lovely views of the Thames. We saw rowers on the water, as well as Hampton Court. We even got a glimpse of the Ham Polo Club in Richmond. It was a fantastic day and very well organised, with refreshments laid on at the halfway and finish points.

“There was a lovely calm and friendly atmosphere, like we were all in this together, supporting the charities closest to our heart and remembering our loved ones.

“The first quarter, which I completed, turned out to be closer to 29k than 25k but it didn’t matter. The atmosphere and weather were so great, it was just a pleasure to be part of it. I finished in 6 hours and would do it again at the drop of a hat.”

Taking part in a sponsored trek is not only good for us, it’s good for you!

  • Did you know walking regularly can…
  • Reduce your risk of stroke
  • Ward off heart disease
  • Relieve insomnia
  • Improve energy levels and your ability to heal
  • Tone your leg and abdominal muscles