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“Walking will help me regain my fitness and raise money for MS-UK”

Fowler and Mary for blog.jpgMeet Mary Harvey and her 16-year-old dog Fowler, our fundraisers of the month!

As I write, we’re several weeks into the third lockdown. Many are making tentative holiday plans for later in the year. Not me. I’m planning 31 walks to enjoy in my local area as I take on The Big Purple Dog Walk with Fowler, my 16-year-old Jack Russell. I’m hoping Dotty, my twelve-year old greyhound will join us for part of the way, but she gets very tired these days.

When I saw The Big Purple Dog Walk advertised on social media, I knew straight away I wanted to get involved. Being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) five years ago, having suffered a range of symptoms for 13 years, charities like MS-UK have become an important means of support for people like me.

My MS is relatively mild, but having a severe relapse last autumn has left me feeling anything but match fit for this challenge, as I’ve yet to regain my pre-relapse strength. But I’m confident that with Fowler by my side, a gentle two-mile walk each day will not only help me regain my fitness, but also help raise funds to support the invaluable work of MS-UK.

Old dog, new tricks

Fowler is a little old man, who at 16 is virtually blind. However, his powerful sense of smell enables him to enjoy the world around him, and he loves getting out and about! I know that our two miles each day will be a leisurely stroll as we will not only stop at each and every lamppost, but will also take the time to investigate the range of fascinating smells which only Fowler can enjoy. On days where fatigue strikes hard, I’m planning two shorter walks, punctuated with rest.

Dotty - Mary Fowler - for blog resized.jpgAlthough Dotty is four years younger than Fowler, as an ex-racing greyhound she prefers shorter walks and lots of snoozes. I hope that she will be joining us, along with my husband Stuart, for part of our route each day. I’m sure that the promise of a treat at the end of her stroll will be welcomed.

Inspiring coastline

We’re lucky as we live in a beautiful part of Kent, with lots of great walks on our doorstep including along the Thanet coastline much loved by Turner and Dickens. I’m hoping that restrictions will be lifted enough in time for my friend Sue and her dog Lara to join us for a walk in the woods or to the historic towers at Reculver – something I’ve really missed during the pandemic.

I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of friends who have sponsored me, and I’m still days away from starting the challenge. Looking at my JustGiving page (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mary-harvey2) I’ve been rather surprised to find that I’ve been sponsored by both Jean Claude Van Damme and Father Ted’s nemesis Father Dick Byrne! Whoever they are, I am very grateful… I’m just waiting for Spiderman and Alan Partridge to join them!

Good luck to everyone taking part in The Big Purple Dog Walk, I hope the weather is perfect for us all.

Want to take part in The Big Purple Dog Walk? Find out about joining #TeamPaws today by clicking the button below, or email Lucy@ms-uk.org – we’d love to welcome you!

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