A journey by foot along Te Araroa, the 3000km trail along the length of New Zealand, to raise awareness of and funds for MS.
The 3000km (1860 mile) route stretches from Cape Reinga in the North of New Zealand to Bluff in the South.
I am tramping the trail, starting in November 2015 and finishing in March/April 2016.
I hope to raise awareness of the great work done by the Multiple Sclerosis Society and raise funds for both them and the New Zealand Multiple Sclerosis Research Trust, whose aim is to stimulate, co-ordinate and support specific New Zealand-based research into the cause, prevention, treatment, alleviation and cure of MS
I will be carrying my own tent and supplies but, apart from donations direct to these charities, I would very much appreciate any other help that people could offer, such as food, accommodation, equipment or company on the trail.
My brother Ian was diagnosed with MS.
Think about all the places that you been to, how many sunrises and sunsets that you have seen, how many hands you have held, how many plans for the future you have made in the last 15 years. Then stop and imagine that for these 15 years you were in a wheelchair or a bed, needing help with every movement of your body that you take for granted. Seeing your elderly parents visit you every week and taking your frustrations out on them. Then imagine seeing the indescribable look on your mother's face as she attends your funeral.
When he died just before his 50th birthday, Ian was bloated from steroids and could only move his head. Prior to MS he was a keen sailor, loved fast cars and worked in Russia before the revolution. It would be fair to say that Ian knew a lot about Russian vodka and even more about very tall, very beautiful Russian women. He organised for some children from Chernobyl to visit the UK and to enjoy some fun after their terrible disaster.
Ian and I were both adopted, yet shared many characteristics, such as a mutual loathing of tramping. This was unfortunate because as a family we spent most weekends doing just that.
Ian and I were good mates - he called me Ratchet, and I still miss him today.
That is why I am doing this trip.
Thank you Mrs O!