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03 June 2011

A girl and her dog’s long walk for charity

A girl and her dog’s long walk for charity

There is no quick cure for leprosy, but determined to do what she can to help raise funds for those affected, one young woman is partnering with the charity The Leprosy Mission by endeavouring on quite a long walk. Two months long, in fact.

Finishing on 30 June having started on 1 May, Natalie Husk, from Tiverton, is doing a 630 mile walk with her dog Toby along the south west coast path, and hopes to raise £10,000 for The Leprosy Mission.

The money will help buy specially adapted shoes and prostheses for people of India who have been affected by leprosy.

Natalie says: "I'll be walking for about 53 days, with an average of 12 miles a day. All my overnight stays will be with charity supporters, so all funds raised will go to the charity."

Natalie attends Wonford Methodist Church and is training to be a local preacher. She visited several projects in West Bengal with The Leprosy Mission and was motivated to make a difference.

Natalie says of her visit, "Leprosy in India is surrounded by so much stigma and prejudice that people affected are isolated and treated as outcasts by their families and communities. It was great to see The Leprosy Mission providing not only medical treatment but also care and warmth for the people who thought they would be outcasts for the rest of their lives."

Reverend Mark Gilborson, Natalie's minister says: "Natalie is an articulate and engaging person, she has a great sense of humour, and perhaps most importantly, a vibrant faith that she wants to put into action."

Rev Gilborson was a bit surprised when Natalie approached him to say she wouldn't be attending church for the next two months.

"Well, as her minister, my initial response was 'why what have you done?''' Yet, Rev Gilborson is excited about what Natalie is doing: "What a great cause to walk in aid of those dealing with leprosy, raising both money and awareness…a great reason to miss church, even if it is for two months!"

Although her Dalmation Toby is with her for all 630 miles, Natalie will be joined by other family members and friends along the way to support her in the adventure.

This will be the longest walk that Natalie and Toby have ever taken, but, Natalie is passionate and determined. "I've always wanted to walk the south west coast path and this seemed like an ideal opportunity to raise much needed funds," she says.

To find Natalie's blog, click here