Anthony Nolan Trust fundraiser to complete walk from Horncastle to Lincoln

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Horncastle to Lincoln might be a journey you wouldn’t think twice about in a car - but would you walk it?

That’s exactly what local man Jonathan Schofield is planning to do next month.

Joined by friend Chris Stokes, he’ll spend nine hours walking the distance to raise money for, and awareness of, the Anthony Nolan Trust.

The trust works to save the lives of people suffering from leukaemia and other blood diseases, and Jonathan was inspired to undertake the challenge after losing his mother-in-law, Wendy Chantry, earlier this year.

She was 70 years old, and a resident at Tanglewood in Horncastle.

He got the idea from a friend, who regularly cycles from Lincoln to Horncastle by the river via Bardney, to Woodhall Spa and then to Horncastle along the old railway track.

He’s set to walk the distance - roughly 25 miles from Horncastle to Cathedral Square, Lincoln - on 21 September and has a fundraising target of £300.

Jonathan’s been on the Anthony Nolan Trust donor register for 20 years and has been called up to donate blood stem cells three times - however, complications have meant he’s not been able to so far.

Despite this, he’s passionate about making people aware of the benefits of being on the register, and wants to help break down misconceptions of the actual procedure.

“Most people think it’s this really invasive operation that means they’ll be in bed for weeks after, in fact it’s like a day’s worth of dialysis after injections.”

According to the trust’s website, only 10% of donations are done under general anaesthetic, and the charity is desperately trying to encourage healthy 16-30 year olds to sign up to their register.

“If walking around 25 miles a day is enough to make one person sign up, that’ll be a huge achievement,’’ he said.

Jonathan particularly wants to complete the walk starting in Horncastle for a symbolic reason, too.

He said: “The first part of the walk is flat and long, which represents the long road to getting a diagnosis for a blood disease.

“At the end of the walk, I’ll be going up Steep Hill. That’s to symbolise the real struggle of going to hospital and going through treatment.

“Of course, walking a long way is nothing akin to going though blood cancer.

“But if it gets people donating, that’s all that matters.”

Jonathan is making sure he’s ready for the challenge by walking at least 10,000 steps a day.

“I’m going to leave the hill training out and save that for the big day,” he joked.

His ultimate hope is to inspire people to register as donors.

“Nine times out of ten, you can’t tell someone is suffering from a blood disease,” Jonathan said. “You could walk past someone in the street and not know the illness they had.

“That’s why it’s so important to be no the donor register.

“It might not be mentally easy to give stem cells, but in practice it’s so worthwhile.”

You can donate online by visiting www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jonathaniswalkingforwendy