Pensioner Trish Hanlon – who is battling an inner ear condition that affects her balance and a benign essential tremor which causes involuntary shaking of her right hand and arm – is taking on the mammoth task of a 192-mile coast to coast walk to help disabled children in Yorkshire.
Trish, who lives with husband Mike at Catterick Garrison, is tackling the trek from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire for Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children. She will be walking in stages over a period of weeks, starting on Saturday 18 February.
Trish, aged 67, is a former church warden at St John the Evangelist at the Garrison and a member of the congregation at St Cuthbert’s in nearby Colburn. Trish said: “I had been taking part in intercessions at the church, praying for change in the world, when I realised you have to step up and make change happen yourself – you can’t just keep asking the world to do it. We have three lovely, healthy grandchildren so it seemed natural to want to do something to help other children who are less fortunate. Newlife was an obvious choice.”
Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness and has helped 1,274 children across Yorkshire. It guarantees that every penny Trish raises will be directly spent on vital equipment for a child or children in the county.
Trish, who has a vestibular condition which affects the part of the inner ear and brain that processes sensory information involved with controlling balance, added: “Two years ago I lost the balance in my right ear and was staggering everywhere. My brain has had to be retrained to accept that as normal but it feels as though I am on board ship all the time, listing. The tremor comes and goes but under times of stress it can become quite violent. So the 192-mile walk is a real challenge for me, which is why I am tackling it in stages.”
She won’t be alone for her challenge – as her family is rallying round to support her. Husband Mike will be taking on a logistics support role while sister Carole Launder and her husband Brian – a former Army Adventure Training instructor – will be at her side every step of the way. Other family members, including Trish and Mike’s daughter Anji, will be accompanying her on parts of the route.
Trish estimates it will take her between 14 and 19 days to complete the 192-mile walk. Husband Mike said: “Because of her condition it is a massive undertaking for Trish, but she is determined to complete it and raise as much as she can to help disabled children in the county.”
Trish will be tackling the first stage – from St Bees to Ennerdale Water – on Saturday 18 February (weather permitting!).
To find out more about Newlife and how it supports families, go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/local. Click on your area of the County Map and read stories about how specialist equipment has transformed the lives of children near you.
Pictured: Trish Hanlon