A woman from Barton Seagrave in Northamptonshire is challenging herself to walk at least 5,000 steps every Sunday in March in order to raise money for charity close to her heart.
Anjali Silva-Vadgama (33) was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2019 and now needs a walking stick, or sometimes a wheelchair, to get around.
Now in its third year, the Big Purple Dog Walk sees dog owners around the country and of all abilities challenging themselves and their hounds to regular sponsored walks to raise money for the charity. It was started by MS-UK as a result of research by the charity into loneliness and isolation which highlighted the big part animals play in the MS Community, whether it be keeping their owners company or being the reason to get outside each day.
Last year, the event raised £11,733 for MS-UK, enough to run the charity’s national helpline for just over a month.
For Anjali, MS is not the only hurdle she’s facing:
“I have to be really careful as I don’t re-start my usual MS medication until mid-April. I’ve been on a different drug for the last year because my wife Asha and I are trying for a baby and the fertility treatment I’m on has meant I had to stop my medication. I’ve been on a weekly injectable drug instead which has been horrible. Thankfully, the medical board have decided I can go back on my usual treatment soon and carry on with the fertility planning.”
Anjali chose MS-UK because the charity has been a big support since her diagnosis. The Big Purple Dog Walk encourages everyone with a dog to get outside and exercise a bit more, and the challenges are totally accessible.
“I’ve got three dogs, Bailey, a whippet/collie cross, and Kodi and Nala who are chow chow/mastiff crosses. I’m up for the challenge but we usually only make it half as far as this in one day, and then I have to rest on the sofa for the afternoon.”
For more information and to sign up to the challenge, visit www.ms-uk.org/big-purple-dog-walk/.
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