With more than 400 miles on the clock, Christina Chatfield can almost sense the finish line on what has been a remarkable journey walking the entire length of the UK.
‘500 Miles 4 Smiles’ started on 19 May in Kirriemuir, Scotland, and will finish on 19 June at the Big Beach Café in Brighton. It will mark the end of an extraordinary month for Christina, who is raising money for mouth cancer awareness.
Christina has currently raised in excess of £10,000 for charity and the dental hygienist has made one last call for donations.
Over the next week the walk will pass through Welwyn Garden City, Shenley, Marble Arch, Croydon, Horley, Horsham and Worthing, before finishing in the town of Christina’s current dental practice.
Christina said: ‘It would be absolutely fantastic if by the time I arrived in Brighton we had raised £15,000. Mouth cancer is one of the very few forms of cancer experts believe will rise within the next decade. I have spoken to a number of people along the route and very few are aware of the link between mouth cancer and the human papillomavirus (HPV), one of the key factors behind the increase. The more money I can raise, the more people we can help to educate about the disease and the risk factors.
‘I have been joined by a mouth cancer sufferer and her children along the route, and the support of my fellow professionals has been extremely heart-warming. Even though I am suffering from shin splints, I am less than 100 miles away from Brighton, which seems like not a lot given how far I have come!’
Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, lent his support to Christina’s call.
Dr Carter said: ‘Some of my team joined Christina along the route, and they were suffering after 23 miles. She has walked more than 400 miles so far, so let’s have one final push to get Christina over the £15,000 mark. It would be a fantastic achievement and reflects on the spirit and support of the dental profession, not to mention everyone who has either joined her or contributed.’
To donate, you can either text ‘SMLE54’ plus your amount to 70070 or visit the Justgiving page at www.justgiving.com/500miles4smiles. If you would like to join Christina on the final legs of her walk, please register at www.500miles4smiles.org.