Sisters take on Just Walk challenge again

Sisters, from left, Nicola Burness-Smith, Vivienne Slattery, Joe Trichler and Caroline Burness-Smith when they finished Just Walk three years ago
Sisters, from left, Nicola Burness-Smith, Vivienne Slattery, Joe Trichler and Caroline Burness-Smith when they finished Just Walk three years ago

Four sisters are joining forces for the Just Walk challenge, which promises to be the best one yet.

There has been a record number of registrations this year and walkers from across the country will meet at Goodwood Racecourse on Saturday, May 13, to begin their walking challenge across the stunning South Downs National Park.

There are five routes to choose from, 10km up to 60km, and it is the 20km option that sisters Caroline Burness-Smith from Angmering, Nicola Burness-Smith from Poynings, Vivienne Slattery from Rottingdean and Joe Trichler from Uffington, Oxfordshire, have chosen.

They are raising money for Parkinson’s UK as their mother, Brenda Burness-Smith, has had Parkinson’s for almost 30 years.

They did the walk three years ago in wind, rain and sunshine and are looking forward to doing it again.

Caroline said: “Our mother underwent a pallidotomy almost a year ago to help with the symptoms. The operation was to cauterise the nerve endings on one side of the brain and this helped with the whole body shaking, which would rack mum’s body on a daily basis.

“She was unable to sit still in her chair much of the time, either leaning excessively to the right or actually sliding out of the chair and on to the floor, from where she was unable to get herself up and would need lifting up.

“She could no longer hold a pen much of the time, which left her unable to do the crosswords she loved or even sign her name in a cheque. Sometimes, she would need help feeding herself because the shaking was so bad.

“Since the operation, she stays in her seat, no longer leans over to the right and can now sign and write her cheques when she wants to, rather than having to wait for her less dyskinetic times.

“She’s still not very mobile and has to take a concoction of pills several times a day. She has a superb consultant at St Richard’s Hospital now. The body might not be working as it should be but her brain is definitely all there – regularly beating one of my sisters and her carers at Scrabble and answering questions on television quiz shows from the comfort of her chair.

“Parkinson’s is a cruel disease which affects people in different ways. There is no one single solution for sufferers - each person has to try a variety of medication and dosages to find the combination that works as best as possible for them and their symptoms.

“More money is needed to enable more research to be done to find ways of easing this disease and maybe one day a cure.”

Visit www.justgiving.com/Caroline-Burness-Smith3 to make a donation.