A five-day trek across Hadrian’s Wall to support those living with a life-limiting illness is the goal of a woman on a mission.
Linda Blatchly is embarking on a memorial walk to raise funds for the PSP Association and the Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre, Wisbech, which supported her family throughout the course of her father’s illness.
The walk, which started out as a fundraiser and turned into a memorial walk following the death of Ms Blatchly’s father, Murrow man Mike Brown, aims to repay the charities which helped her father and family in their time of need.
She said: “My dad was living with PSP, a neurodegenerative condition that gradually erodes motor function whilst leaving the brain fully functioning.
“It is not Parkinson’s Disease, although it is often misdiagnosed as such. We had been watching dad deteriorate over a number of years: he was pretty much wheelchair bound; he choked every time he ate; he was permanently catheterised; he was unable to speak and he took what seemed to be his body weight in medication on a weekly basis.
“However, he retained a sense of humour and his bright blue eyes often twinkled with mischief, which was a double-edged sword as he choked every time he laughed.”
The PSP Association is a national charity providing support and information to people living with PSP and CBD, while funding research into treatments and ultimately a cure, and the Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre offers day therapy, treatment and clinical days for patients and their families.
Ms Blatchly added: “Dad was a part of the PSP research programme being undertaken by Professor James Rowe at Cambridge, and the PSP Association provided our family with much support and advice since Dad was diagnosed.
“Because PSP is little known and understood, it doesn’t receive the funding or have the profile of some of the major charitable organisations.
“I want to raise money to help them help and support the increasing number of people living with this illness, and their families.
“In addition, whilst we have received a lot of help from the national PSP Association, Dad has been supported on a local basis by the phenomenal staff at The Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre in Wisbech, which is a part of the Cambridgeshire based Arthur Rank Hospice Charity.
“The unit offered a weekly activity session for Dad, which also provided respite for Mum who was Dad 24/7 carer despite having her own health issues.
“The Alan Hudson Day Centre was also instrumental in seeking out professional, medical and financial support that we would not otherwise have known about, and provided family welfare.
“I’m hoping that my generous friends, family and those as yet unknown to me will consider this a sufficient effort to sponsor me.”
Ms Blatchly, who lives in Leicestershire, is set to walk the 84-mile length of Hadrian’s Wall from Wallsend to Bowness-on-Solway from July 15-19.
To support her trek, visit www.justgiving.com/teams/Linda-Hadrians-Wall-Walk.