A dental therapist is taking part in the world’s most difficult endurance race to raise funds for a dental charity.
Kevin Lawlor, 54, is participating in the Marathon Des Sables which is a 153-mile test in six days across the Sahara Desert, in aid of Facing Africa, a charity that sends out surgeons to reconstruct the faces of children with Noma (cancrum oris), an acute and ravaging gangrenous infection affecting the face.
The registered UK charity funds and organises teams of volunteer surgeons, anaesthetists, doctors and nurses who visit Ethiopia two to three times a year.
And Kevin, who works at the Oasis Dental Care in Carlisle, will have to carry his own food, sleeping bag and emergency equipment to last the race in his bid to raise funds.
He said: ‘This is recognised as the most difficult race in the world; two people have died trying to complete this race and many many more are evacuated by helicopter because they become really seriously ill and are at death’s door.
‘It is an extreme race and it’s a challenge for me to complete it. I’m confident about doing it though.
‘The 156 miles I plan to run if I can, walk if I can’t, crawl if I must.’
Kevin – who is a keen mountaineer and also works as a yoga teacher and life coach – believes it will be his time as a Royal Marine commando that will really help him.
‘When I was in the forces it was all about psychological training as well as mental conditioning,’ he explained.
It is estimated 90% of children with noma die, and those who survive are left with holes in their faces or disfigured jaws.
Kevin said: ‘I want to help the kids that have this horrific disease. It starts off with ordinary gum disease; the type thousands and thousands of people in the UK and around Carlisle have. I treat this every day of the week.’