As many of you know, I started my own veterinary company last year. It has always been my intention to make charitable donations each year, so I'm starting as I mean to go on! Given that this is our first year of fundraising, we thought we would kick things off with something to push us all physically, and what better way than to walk 63 miles continuously! There will be food and water stops (thank goodness) along the way, but we will otherwise be traversing Britain's south coast from Eastbourne to Arundel without stopping for sleep. We will be walking all day and night - some of the route is very challenging terrain with some large hills thrown in for amusement...
We have a number of charities that we will be supporting over the years, but in our first year we have chosen charities that are close to our hearts. For me, this has to be Combat Stress without a shadow of a doubt. This is a wonderful charity that helps to get Servicemen and women back on track after suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder and other similar mental illnesses. Some of you may know a little about my life before I became a vet, and will be aware that I have lots of friends in the Armed Forces. Several of them have suffered in one way or another with mental conflicts, whilst other people that I was at primary school (!) with are literally only able to continue with their lives after receiving the help of this charity.
The effects of PTSD are devastating and affect all areas of a person's life. It can destroy confidence, result in the loss of a job, a marriage, or even a house, and can lead to abuse of substances, alcohol or one's own body. It is a slippery slope to climb to get back to living a 'normal' life, but it can be achieved with a strong network of support around you - which is what Combat Stress offers.
Many of you will also be aware that I have chronic back pain - cause still TBC - so this will really push me. We are hoping to finish in around 30 hours, but my personal aim is to finish walking rather than crawling!
If you are able to spare anything, please, please, please donate to Combat Stress via this page. We are trying to raise a minimum of £500 each, so please pass the word around to anyone and everyone you know! Your support means so much to us all and will definitely make a difference to our charities. We're going to try to post some training photos and videos on-line (yes, I know, I'm going to have to learn to use the computer!) so keep your eyes peeled!