Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Sunday 18 October 2020

Disability What Disability? Sussex Resident Battles Through Pain For Charity

A Sussex resident fought through her disability, undertaking a 29-mile walking challenge—the equivalent distance of all three of the UK's tallest peaks combined: Ben Nevis at 11.5 miles; Snowdon at 9.5 miles and Scafell Pike at 8 miles—to raise vital funds for Bliss, a UK charity for babies born prematurely or sick.

Karen Challis, from East Preston, West Sussex, suffers from severe Psoriatic arthritis – a progressive and chronic joint disease which leaves her in agony on a daily basis, and on medication for the foreseeable future.  

Alongside her twin brother Steve (who was raising money for the Queen Elizabeth Foundation), Karen challenged herself to walk a 29-mile circuit in Sussex and Surrey. 

The challenge started at Bewbush, and carried on to Tilgate, Maidenbower, Horley, Charlwood and then back around to Crawley to raise funds for Bliss after her niece (Steve's daughter) was born prematurely at just 27 weeks—over three months early!

Setting off on 19th September at 6.30am, Karen was already in agony by mile 4 after walking with sciatica from the get-go. 

They reached Horley train station at 11.7 miles but by this time Karen's left hip had really started to cause her discomfort, and by mile 13 she resigned to the fact that she was going to have to use her walking stick. 

That didn't stop her though; Karen marched on all the way to Three Bridges at mile 23. 

Unfortunately, it was a bathroom break that required stairs that forced Karen to stop the challenge at this point, before permanent damage was caused, as her right hip and knee along with the left hip all gave way. 

Steve battled on, completing the final 6 miles a couple of hours later.

Karen said:

"Doing this walk meant so much to me for a few reasons. First, Bliss is amazing in how it supports families who are going through such a painful experience with their babies. 

"I knew my pain from this walk would be nothing compared to what these families are going through and that thought pushed me through. 

"Second, my condition limits what I'm able to do, but I am determined not to let it stop me from achieving new goals - I simply will not to let my condition define me or let it dictate how much of my life I can enjoy. 

"Finally, to do this amazing journey with my brother is such a wonderful memory to treasure."

Hearing about Karen's achievement, her employer, Sussex property lettings and management specialist PS&B, donated £150 to her fundraising pot, increasing her total raised amount to £441.

Michael Barber, Director of PS&B, said:

"Karen has been part of the PS&B family for a few years now, working from our Brighton and Bognor offices. 

"We are obviously aware of the pain she suffers on a daily basis due to her condition so, when we heard she was undertaking this 29-mile challenge we couldn"t quite believe it. 

"There is no doubt that she is one determined lady and although she was gutted not to have completed those final few miles, we couldn't be prouder."

by: Mike Cobley

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