Former nurse from Southsea breaks pain barrier to walk around the Isle of Wight

DESPITE suffering from a condition that makes her body swell, a former nurse completed a coastline walk to raise money for charity.

By Joshua Bailey
Saturday, 14th September 2019, 3:27 pm
Updated Monday, 16th September 2019, 5:14 pm
Helen and Dave Hunter with chief officer Sergejs Parahovniks on board St Clare
Helen and Dave Hunter with chief officer Sergejs Parahovniks on board St Clare

Helen Hunter completed the 67-mile walk around the Isle of Wight’s coastline, despite suffering from lymphoedema, a condition which causes painful swelling in the body’s tissues.

The 58-year-old from Southsea and her husband Dave, 64 started the walk on September 2 and walked for hours for five days to complete the walk which she described as ‘very challenging but also enjoyable’.

She was overjoyed with the support she received throughout the fundraiser.

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Helen said: ‘People stopped to chat with us on our walk and even donated there and then, it made me almost tearful.’

The walk has raised over £1,500 for Lymphoedema Support Network, a charity that aims to both support and educate those diagnosed, as well as spread awareness of the condition.

Lymphoedema is thought to affect more than 200,000 people in the UK.

Helping to spread awareness was a key motivation for Helen, who had to travel to Basingstoke and pay privately to get her diagnosis which received in 2017.

She developed the condition after undergoing successful surgery for cancer of the womb, which saw her have to step down from her job as a nurse.

Helen explained: ‘Doctors still seem to know little about it.’

‘The provision of care for lymphoedema is patchy and often non-existent’.

Despite no medically recognised ‘cure’ for lymphoedema, Helen attributes walking as one way of helping to relieve her pain.

‘I actually find it easier to walk than stand still,’ she said.

Helen was also very grateful to Wightlink for their support towards her cause.

Wightlink chief executive Keith Greenfield said: ‘We are very impressed with Helen’s bravery and were delighted to support her and Dave on their coastal walk.

‘We are sure their efforts will inform many people about lymphoedema.’

Since her big walk there’s no stopping the Southsea resident, as she can regularly be found out and about.

‘I’ll carry on walking, it does help,’ added Helen.