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Wilma's Thousand Miles for the BBS
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be updating ‘My Story’ below but until then here’s a start:
Having Walked and Wittered 232 miles over the 50 different Walks from 24 June 2017 to 18 August 2018, I’ve been thinking about what challenge to set myself next. After much thought and wanting to do something that would enable me to use the Tilite Wheelchair and SmartDrive that started the whole 50 Walks and Witters off but also to lengthen the distance and terrain I can access by using my new Batec Electric handcycle, share the great outdoors that I’ve rediscovered with others and to build on the momentum created by the 50 Walks so far I’ve decided to do ‘Wilma’s One Thousand Miles for the Brittle Bone Society’.
2018 sees the Brittle Bone Society, whose head office is in Dundee, celebrate 50 glorious years. Whilst I can't reach to the heights of my nephew, Iain Lawrie, and take part in a marathon for the BBS, Yvonne Grant, whose amazing mother, Margaret, set up the Brittle Bone Society in 1968, gave me the idea to do 50 'walks' between June 2017 and August 2018 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary. In the late 60s my parents saw a letter Margaret wrote to the Sunday Post asking if there was anyone else out there with brittle bones (osteogenesis imperfecta), 10 people replied with 4 families meeting up a few months later and the rest is history.
The Brittle Bone Society
The walks that I am choosing are personal to me, suggested by family, friends or even you and are suitable for wheelchair users, although not always on flat ground - Edinburgh is quite a hilly place after all. Most will be dog-friendly too as I find new walks for when I get my assistance dog from Canine Partners.
As my family and friends have learned over the years, the Brittle Bone Society does incredible work to further research, raise awareness, support people living with OI and so much more. Every time I have phoned the office over many years, there is always someone there willing to stop whatever they are doing to 'listen', to give advice, to support, to encourage - this is invaluable, unquantifiable and makes whatever the issue has been seem less daunting to deal with. Even just a little help at the correct time means that people of all ages living with OI can lead more independent lives and make a difference to their lives and others at the same time. OI is a rare condition (around 1:15,000 families in the UK live with OI) which affects people in many different ways - it is caused by a collagen defect and as well as fracturing bones, people with OI often have muscle weakness, early hearing loss, fatigue, joint laxity, curved bones, scoliosis, blue sclerae, dentinogenesis imperfecta (brittle teeth), respiratory difficulties, easy bruising and short stature amongst other medical issues. In addition to having had around 300 cracks and fractures since I was diagnosed aged 2, OI also causes me to have spontaneous injuries to muscles, tendons, ligaments etc from little or no trauma.
Early in 2016, the BBS got in touch with me as they knew I was really struggling to push or even use my NHS wheelchair due to increasing problems with my shoulders (on top of the usual frequent cracks and fractures elsewhere) and offered to approach trusts to enable me to get a suitable wheelchair and add-ons to regain some of the independence I had lost. I am now the proud owner of an amazing very lightweight titanium Tilite wheelchair and SmartDrive which meant I could contemplate doing 50 walks for the BBS. In the time I've had the chair, I've enjoyed its benefits in so many ways and I'd love it if you can join me on some of the walks to help celebrate the BBS and assist me to try to raise as much as I can to help make a real difference to the lives of other people in the UK living with OI.
BBS Wheelchair Fundraising video
For example, the annual BBS weekend conference may be the only time that families and individuals can ever have a 'break' away from home because the team work hard with members in different parts of the country to identify places that will be as barrier-free as possible. This means that we can all benefit from learning about medical developments; see real specialists in OI, perhaps for the only time in our lives; meet up with friends old and new; spend time really relaxing as everyone just 'gets what it's like', without explanations, to live with OI so we can ALL feel safe - and if a fracture occurs, they've even thought of that. For many of us, this is the only time in a year that we can truly relax, free from the unexpected (and expected) negative attitudes and experiences of everyday life. Is 3 days out of 365 too much to ask?
Get in touch with me if you'd like a gift aid Sponsor Form to collect your own sponsors and donors on my behalf.
If you are able to join me, bring a camera and/or a kite if it's a windy day! The walks are weather and (obviously) health dependent.
UPDATE October 2018: Now that I’ve completed ‘Wilma’s 50 Walks and Witters for the Brittle Bone Society’ I’ll be doing some of these Walks in the months to come that have also been suggested by others. The Royal Mile; Devilla Forest trail; The Water of Leith; Loch Katrine; Fort William and/or Oban area; Kessock, Dornoch and Cromarty Bridges!; Skye Bridge; Kinross to Loch Leven Larder (return=8 miles or one way=4 miles); Harlaw Reservoir/Red Moss Peat Bog, Balerno and so many more out there waiting to be attempted! Add a comment on the Walks FB page if you’ve got other suggestions of ones you’d like to do with me.
Below are the original 50 Walks that got me started on the road to a thousand miles:
1 Dundee: 3 miles around Camperdown Park - 24 June [COMPLETED]
2 Dundee: Tay Bridge both ways - 15 July [COMPLETED]
3 The Blair Atholl Watermill to Blair Castle - 20 July [COMPLETED]
4 Balmoral Castle Grounds - 22 July [COMPLETED]
5 Blinking Eye (Millennium) Bridge to the Sage, Gateshead - 10 August [COMPLETED]
6 Dundee Wee Wander Kiltwalk as part of 'Team Brittle Warriors' - 20 August [COMPLETED]
7 The Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh - 31 August [COMPLETED]
8 Queensferry Crossing (team of 4) - 2 September Team WBBS50 wore matching 'Walks and Witters' hoodies. Look out for photos on the dedicated Facebook page [COMPLETED]
9 Pitlochry town and river wander- 8 September [COMPLETED]
10 Princes Street Gardens 12 September. [COMPLETED]
11 Glamis Castle - 21 September [COMPLETED]
12 The grounds of Taymouth Castle, Kenmore by the River Tay as a tribute to my dear friend, Rosemarie Kasper, actively involved in the USA OI Foundation - 30 September [COMPLETED]
13 Loch an Eilein, 21 October [COMPLETED]
14 17 November Dalkeith Country Park [COMPLETED]
15 Cycle path route - North Edinburgh 18 November [COMPLETED]
16 Boxing Day Wander by The Polofields, Redford Wood and the Braid Burn - [COMPLETED]
17 New Year’s Day Walk, Bonaly to Torduff Reservoir - Welcome to 2018 and the 50th year of the Brittle Bone Society. [COMPLETED]
18 Walk by the Clyde in Glasgow - 7 January 2018 [COMPLETED]
19 Part of The Union Canal Edinburgh from Longstone - 12 January [COMPLETED]
20 Kelvingrove Gallery and Park - 15 February [COMPLETED]
21 High to low...Walk from upper Bonaly down to Colinton village including Spylaw Park, part of the Water of Leith, and back up to Bonaly Country Park - 22 February [COMPLETED]
22 Lauriston Castle Grounds - 20 March [COMPLETED]
23 Highland Wildlife Park - 3 April [COMPLETED]
24 Alloa - 5 April [COMPLETED]
25 Wilton Lodge Park, Hawick, celebrating Jan and Saffron’s birthdays! - 16 April [COMPLETED]
26 Roam round Ratho, home to Lawrie ancestors...and one of the first places I canoed as a teenager! - 19 April [COMPLETED]
27 Crathie Church 9 mile loop towards Invergelder climbing around, up and down Creag a Ghobhain, Craig Gowan to Easter Balmoral and back to the church - to celebrate Wishbone weekend. 5 May [COMPLETED]
28 Wishbone Day Walk Blair Atholl village to Glen Tilt car park - 6 May [COMPLETED]
29 Mugdock Country Park - 7 May [COMPLETED]
30 Milngavie Town Hall to ¾ mile along the West Highland Way welcoming the incredible Medics on the March who walked the entire WHW in only 4 days - 7 May [COMPLETED]
31 Crossing the Forth Road Bridge - 13 May [COMPLETED]
32 1918-2018 Processions Parade Edinburgh - 10 June [COMPLETED]
33 The Hermitage and Pinecone Viewpoint, Dunkeld - 7 July [PARTIALLY COMPLETED!] Unfortunately, I had to give up part of the way up to the Pinecone Viewpoint as it was too hot and I was concerned that the path was too steep but friend, Lesley almost made it. I will try it again later in the year with a few more people in case I run out of ‘steam’ .
34 Birnam and Dunkeld to the Hermitage with Graham (RSM Atholl Highlanders) and Sandra Jack - 10 July [COMPLETED]
35 A walk in 2 parts with Graham and Sandra along a very short accessible stretch of the Fife Coastal Path at Wormit then off to Balmarino Abbey and village to walk another part of the Path - 12 July [COMPLETED]
36 Longniddrie-Haddington along the Old Railway - 18 July [COMPLETED]
37 The promenade from the River Almond at Cramond to Silverknowes and back - 19 July [COMPLETED]
38 Harestanes Countryside and Woodland Walk - 20 July [‘COMPLETED..as far as it could be. See Update below!]
39 The Kelpies and Helix Parkland - 21 July [COMPLETED]
40 Walk #40 Falkirk Wheel 2 canals circuit - 21 July [COMPLETED]
41 Warrington Centre - 26 July [COMPLETED]
42 River Ness and Caledonian Canal circuit or a different one in Inverness - 29 July [COMPLETED]
43 Blair Atholl to Killiecrankie - 1 August [COMPLETED]
44 Commonwealth Pool to Musselburgh via The Innocent Railway - 5 August [COMPLETED]
45 Ancestral Links: Suburb to City - 8 August [COMPLETED]
46 Culzean Castle and Country Park - 10 August [COMPLETED]
47 The Queen’ Drive round Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh - 11 August [COMPLETED]
48 The Archerfield Estate - 15 August [COMPLETED]
49 The River Tay from Dundee to Invergowrie Nature Reserve - 17 August [COMPLETED]
50 18 August 3.15pm - Dundee Apex Hotel to BBS HQ and back. I’d like to invite anyone who has supported my Walks and Witters to join me on my last Walk. Anyone going to the BBS Conference can join me too. Others you could do are doing the return leg rom the BBS HQ in Guthrie Street down to the Apex Hotel, and/or perhaps across the Tay Bridge and back, and/or along the riverside to the Tay Railway Bridge returning by Discovery Quay and the stunning new V&A gallery, and/or around the Victoria Dock. Get in touch to let me know if you’d like to join in. [COMPLETED!!!]
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