A group of incredible trekkers, all with the same debilitating dual sensory loss, will set out in August, 2014 to walk the Bibbulmun Track right here in WA. The Bibbulmun Track is one of the world's great long distance walk trails, stretching nearly 1000km from Kalamunda in the Perth Hills, to Albany on the south coast, winding through the heart of the scenic South West of Western Australia.
Sharyn Mitchell, brothers' Eddie and George Szczepanik and David Murray all have 'Usher Syndrome', a degenerative condition that affects both the hearing and the vision in such a manner that many with this condition fully lose both senses over time.
People with this condition usually find life very isolating and frustrating which can incur depression. They tend to hide away from life so it's imperative that they are supported and have a social outlet that allows them to interact with others and enjoy life to the best of their ability. The Usher Syndrome Support Group of WA goes a long way to achieving this and needs to raise further awareness and funds to allow this to continue to happen.
Sharyn's Seeing Eye Dog, Versace, and David's Seeing Eye Dog, Fiona, will be the first dog guides to traverse this track. They will spend most of the time riding in a support vehicle so that they're not overtaxed in any way. Both Eddie and George do not have dog guides at this stage but volunteer sighted guides will be on hand at all times to guide the trekkers when they need them.
This is the first time a group of people with low vision and hearing have walked the Bibbulmun Track and we are in the process of finding out if we'll make an entry into the Guinness Book of Records!
This incredible feat will take over a year of planning, training and preparation and will be engineered by the trekkers as well as a bunch of wonderful support workers and volunteers. Many of the support workers and volunteers are affiliated with Senses Foundation WA, a not for profit organisation who support and cater for people with disabilities, including Usher Syndrome.
Why are we doing this? To raise awareness and garner support for people who have this debilitating condition. Also to raise funds for the Usher Syndrome Support Group WA, run by Senses Foundation WA, which helps them overcome the isolation and feelings of depression, inadequacy and frustration they experience.
We also desperately need sponsorship to help us fund the walk itself - specifically food, clothing and camping supplies - please help!!
If you'd like to sponsor us or know of someone who might please contact Malcolm Thompson on 0407 085 004 or Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out our website www.defyingadversity.com
- This site was entirely constructed and designed by Bradford Smith, who also has Usher Syndrome.
Funds raised will go straight to the Usher Syndrome Support Group run by Senses Foundation WA. Senses is a not for profit organisation that caters for people with Usher Syndrome and acquired deaf/blindness. Funds will also go towards research into a cure for RP (Retinitis Pigmentosa) and Retina Australia (WA) will send every dollar donated straight into much needed research purposes - people like Sharyn, Eddie, George and David NEED a cure!!!