Saturday, June 22, 2013

The (un)Official Press Release

Walter van Praag, a 48 year old person born with Cystic Fibrosis, will be hiking 800+ kilometers across Spain to raise awareness of Cystic Fibrosis and promote Organ Donations.  Starting 14 September 2013 Walter and his team will strap on their backpacks and start from St. Jean Pied de Port in France, cross the Pyrenees into Spain and walk right across Spain to Santiago de Compostella.

This pilgrimage is known as ‘The Way of St. James’, and was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during medieval times. Before the Christians adopted it as an official pilgrimage route the Romans used this route for decades to trade across Europe, 100kms beyond Santiago, to what they perceived to be the End of the World, Finisterre on the Atlantic Ocean.  In 1993 the route was listed as World Heritage by UNESCO. Walter chose this route to show the world ‘The Way of CF’.

Each year one million travellers from all over the world hike the ‘Way of St.James’, with 200,000 ‘pilgrims’ expected to complete it in the month of September.   Walter’s team will go in with backpacks and distribute postcards to the hikers on the trail, most of whom will have some relative or friend with Cystic Fibrosis. We hope these people will send our postcards, with our message and our main sponsor’s logo, to their respective countries. This will be a fantastic way to spread the message about Cystic Fibrosis.

Hiking with Cystic Fibrosis will be a big challenge for Walter, carrying all his drugs and medications and a handful of therapeutic devices, not to mention catering for extra nutritional requirements that people with CF need. Walter’s CF related diabetics also requires 3-4 insulin injections per day and careful monitoring at all times. People with CF are very susceptible to pneumonia, and keeping dry and warm will be of paramount importance as is steering clear of people with colds and flus.  His team will be there to help him.
As part of ‘The Way of CF’ Walter and the team will also raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis Australia, the umbrella association that looks after the state Associations, helping families with Cystic Fibrosis and funding research to ensure CF will one day stand for Cure Found. We are aiming at raising $10k by the end of November!

In 2007 Walter and a team of friends rode 4300 kilometers from Paris to Istanbul across 10 European countries, which was subsequently made into a book and a documentary called Coughing the Distance. Walter received CNN coverage and press in many countries, culminating in an Order of Australia Medal for raising worldwide community awareness for Cystic Fibrosis. He was also named one of the Top 20 Faces of Australian Cycling by the Australian Cyclist magazine! Amongst his other adventures he climbed Mount Kinabalu in Borneo, and cycled 5100 kilometers from Vietnam to Singapore, but this time he opted for a soul-cleansing hike through Spain!

1 comment:

Ree Trebilco-Loane said...

Great Wally, I'm going to contact some of Tassys Philanthropists, worth a try.....

The previous adventure!

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