Wigan father and daughter kayak across the country
and live on Freeview channel 276
In June 2021 Terry Smith and his daughter, Poppy, then aged seven but now aged eight, began an epic adventure to help raise money towards the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis charity, ME Research UK. The disease is also called chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).
Terry and Poppy started their water-born adventures at the weekends to give mum, Aimee, time to rest as she suffers from this debilitating condition.
Then Terry had the idea to set a challenge for themselves and give their hobby a purpose: to raise awareness and fund-raise for ME Research UK.
So far the father and daughter duo have raised just over £2,500.
Terry and Poppy are following the Desmond Family Canoe Trail spanning from west to east coasts of the UK in an inflatable kayak.
This mission takes them the full length of the Leeds Liverpool Canal then onto the River Aire, and Calder Navigation.
It is taking many weekends as they have been splitting the journey into manageable chunks and they have done nearly 20 sessions so far.
At points they have been joined by family and friends helping to both motivate and to deal with the complicated logistics of travel.
They have passed through rural and urban areas, over aqueducts, under viaducts, through tunnels and even over the motorway, and unfortunately have had to deal with multiple boat punctures.
ME/CFS is a long-term chronic, fluctuating, neurological condition that causes symptoms affecting many body systems.
Sufferers experience debilitating fatigue, widespread pain, neurological issues, hypersensitivity to light and sound, and many other symptoms.
Post-exertional malaise (PEM) is a key feature of the disease, being the body and brain’s inability to recover after expending even small amounts of energy. This means that every activity, no matter how basic, has unproportional repercussions and can worsen symptoms for hours, days or even weeks.
ME/CFS affects an estimated 250,000 people in the UK, and around 17 million people worldwide.
Shockingly, very little medical research is funded, and so very little is known about the cause and sufferers are left with ineffective treatment.
Often the condition can be triggered by a viral infection, so with the inevitable dramatic increase triggered by Covid and long Covid, it is even more important to invest in medical treatment to tackle this disease.
Aimee, said: “This chronic disease affects every part of my life and is highly debilitating.
"Being disabled in this way I am primarily house bound and unable to do many basic activities.
"Becoming ill devastated our family life and continues to hugely impact Terry and Poppy who are now a carer and young carer for me.
"They sacrifice a lot, adapting and supporting to help reduce my fatigue and pain enabling me to have a better quality of life.
“It's a marathon challenge but they are having fun, meeting lovely people along the way and raising awareness.
"They have completed 108 miles so far with a further 54 to go, wish them luck!”
For more information please see Terry's fundraising page/travel log: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/for-those-like-aimee