I have always admired people who raise money for charity. Whether they’re baking cakes, sitting in an ice bath or setting out on a sporting challenge – each requires dedication, time, energy and 100% commitment. That’s why I’ve never really done it…until now.
Two of my close friends are dealing with MS. They are young, beautiful, inspiring women who mean the world to me. Like every other person suffering from this disease, they shouldn’t be. Martina and Morgan, two very different women, connected by Multiple Sclerosis.
I met Martina when I was at sixth form college. She had been living in England for only a few years, her parents returned to the UK from South Africa. Martina and I have been friends for more than 20 years, it’s possible she has had the disease for the majority of this time, only recently has she been diagnosed. Her wise ways and inspirational comments have stuck with me since the early days “Sam, you cannot be truly happy with anyone until you are happy with yourself,” words I have always tried to live by.
Morgan and I met when I was living in Canada. During the year that I spent living in Toronto and St Catharines in 2004-2005, Morgan was my ‘go-to’ girl. Full of life and love, she took me under her wing and made sure that there was never a dull moment. She also introduced me to some of the most amazing people that I am still friends with today. Morgan has also recently been diagnosed with MS after battling thyroid cancer a few years before.
Morgan says, “Sam and I met 13 years ago. She was the cool British girl who was spunky, kind and like myself loved a great beer. She came to Canada as a journalist and started working at the local radio station where a few of my other friends had already been working. She instantly became a very close friend and confidant. Sam and I haven’t seen each other for years but she’s always remained in my life and will always be someone special to me. When she found out I was diagnosed with MS last year, she instantly jumped on my band wagon and has since shared a part of my journey, through fundraising, kind words, support and friendship.”
So what am I doing to help these two amazing women, and the millions like them who are needlessly suffering? Well, I’m running across the Namib Desert next April and I’m going to raise a million US dollars – ALL of which will go to finding research breakthroughs we need to beat this awful disease.
My run will begin at the end of April 2018. I will run 250km in six days carrying all my own food, sleeping stuff, clothes and band aids (hopefully I won’t need them). While I’m relatively healthy, it’s only fair and right that I do everything I can to raise money to help those who can’t necessarily help themselves.
But, I can only do this with your help—Every donation, every dollar, and every penny will make a difference, and together we can Kiss Goodbye to MS, once and for all.
The Four Deserts are exactly that – four of the world’s toughest deserts. Whether it’s snow, or sand, or a mixture of many terrains – each one brings its own unique hurdles and challenges – and are most definitely not for the faint-hearted.
In 2012, I was living in the middle east. A friend of mine asked if I wanted to do something a little bit crazy – “Er, yeah!!” said I. He asked me if I wanted to run across the Atacama Desert. I had no idea where that was or what it involved and being busy with work, didn’t really have time to research, I simply went to the page, signed up, paid a deposit and sent an email saying…”ok, signed up… let’s do this!!” A couple of weeks later, I had some spare time to sit down and digest what I had just signed up for.
Safe to say I got quite the shock. Running 250km over 7 days across one of the toughest places in the world. Once the idea of running that far had sunk in, it began to get exciting. I did a little more research into where I was going and the significance of the place. These races pass through UNESCO protected areas, through places not accessible to the public, and the scenery is something quite unimaginable.
For me, the Atacama race was a massive test, not only of my physical strength but my mental strength as well. To keep going when your body is truly exhausted is, for me, a huge accomplishment – the mind becomes the power, not the body.
So here I am, doing it all again, only this time, I’m running across Namibia. It’s the same distance, but at sea level, and it’s for two friends – in theory, it should make the race that much easier…hmmmmm – only time will tell!!
January 5th 2018
“And so it begins…with full knowledge that the road ahead will be as undulating as the alpine mountains I live by, and littered with pit stops of ‘what the hell am I doing’ and ‘are we there yet’…but deep down, I know I’m doing something pretty damn awesome – not necessarily for me, but for everyone suffering from MS.
I have to say, it’s cool to think that every step I take is another dollar to helping research into the illness.
Anyhow, the booze is no more – until I get into that much-needed shower after 7 days of running and sit there sipping on a cold beer…(pauses to momentarily consider the pending taste…May 2018 can’t come quick enough…)
January 1st I ran 20km. January 2nd I ran 15km. From here on in, my daily run can consist of no less than 10km…the hills around here are pretty steep which is good for the training…the sand dunes will be kind to no one…
However, 250km awaits, so, as the saying goes… ‘Suck it up, Sam’.
…and as the song goes…please don’t forget…”I need a dollar, dollar, a dollar is all I need” – from each and every one of you if you can spare it.
Many thanks and stay tuned…”