Fundraisers to stage final canalside walk for Rett Syndrome research

The team which has carried out previous walks for people with Rett Syndrome alongside Estelle Dickinson (centre) are (back, from left) Stephen Waddilove, Megan Lawrence, Mike Govier, Vicci Salmons, Debbie Shipley and Graydon Thatcher. And (front, from lef

The team which has carried out previous walks for people with Rett Syndrome alongside Estelle Dickinson (centre) are (back, from left) Stephen Waddilove, Megan Lawrence, Mike Govier, Vicci Salmons, Debbie Shipley and Graydon Thatcher. And (front, from lef

First published in News

THE third and final instalment of a 127-mile walk to help people with a rare neurological disorder starts tomorrow.

The last Walk for Estelle will trek along full length of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal to raise cash for people with the degenerative condition Rett Syndrome. The annual walks were started in 2012.

The walkers will include dad Alistair Dickinson, of Thwaites Brow, Keighley, whose 12-year-old daughter Estelle has Rett Syndrome.

Mr Dickinson said: "I've taken the decision that this will be our final full-length canal walk.

"This is because it's affecting the time Estelle and I have together. Training for a walk of this length begins five months in advance, and takes between 12 to 20 hours per week on top of my full-time job.

"The time spent away from home means less time with Estelle, and she has to be my priority."

Mr Dickinson and his fellow walkers – Graydon Thatcher, Debbie Shipley, Vicci Salmons & Stephen Waddilove – aim to complete the 127-mile route in four days, backed by a support team comprising Mike Govier and Janine MacPearson.

Three other fundraisers will walk for two days, and everyone is invited to join in for the walk's last day on Saturday from Skipton to Leeds.

Rett Syndrome is a genetic condition that almost exclusively affects girls.

Mr Dickinson said: "It gets hold when the child is between 12 and 14 months old and it stops them progressing.

"My daughter had started to say the odd word, but by the time she was 13-months-old she stopped speaking, stopped playing with certain toys and stopped interacting with people.

"She's a real daddy's girl now, but I wasn't able to bond with her for the first two years of her life.

"The condition also affects things like the digestive system and motor skills. Estelle is nearly 11 years old, but physically and mentally she is still about 16 months old."

The walk raised £7,800 in its first year and £8,300 in 2013. Visit justgiving.com/teams/awalkforestelle2014 to support this year's fundraising.

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